Who's this Jakob, and where's the Beefy?

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The Independent Online
How much do you know about beef by now? Here's a small test, just to find out.

1. How well have you been following the debate on the beef crisis in the last few days?

a) Well;

b) Well, quite well;

c) Well, I'm a dairy farmer from Somerset and I don't believe there is a beef crisis, only a beef panic, and I've never had any BSE in my herd, well, I have, but I didn't tell anyone, and what I say is this ...

2. How many of you have been misreading the headlines and thought there was an EU ban on British beer, and that JCD probably stood for "John Courage Disaster"?

3. What are the main symptoms of JCD?

a) An increasing inability to follow Stephen Dorrell's arguments;

b) A tendency to believe that there is a town in Germany called Beefburg;

c) A horrible feeling that the more you learn about beef the less you know?

4. How convinced are you of the link between BSE and Jakob Creutzfeld Disease?

5. Who was this Jakob Creutzfeld, anyway?

6. Why do people with German names get to discover all the most fashionable diseases, like Alzheimer's?

7. And if Jakob Creutzfeld was German, doesn't this mean that he almost certainly discovered the disease in Germany?

8. Which means that they must have BSE over there as well!

9. But they haven't been telling us about that, have they?

10. Oh, no - they haven't let on that they have got BSE over on the Continent as well, have they?

11. But then they wouldn't, would they?

12. It's always us poor Brits who follow the regulations and get caught, isn't it, not the continentals who don't even test for BSE and if they do, never own up to having it!

13. All right, let's calm down a bit, shall we?

14. It has been established now, I think, that BSE was caused by the feed provided by the rendering processes of the feed industry, which minced up diseased sheep to feed to cows, and that although this has now been stopped, we are living with the consequences of those days, is that not so?

15. And the Government can claim that it was not to blame because it left the rendering industry to regulate itself?

16. (And, besides, the Scott report said the Government has always acted in good faith, did it not?)

17. And the farmers were not to blame because they accepted the feed in good faith from the rendering industry and didn't know what was in it?

18. Therefore, it must have been the feed industry which was to blame?

19. So can we expect a lot of lawsuits being taken out against the feed industry by farmers driven to the verge of bankruptcy?

20. And just in case this happens, has the feed industry been busy shredding its own evidence of complicity in BSE?

21. And converting these shredded documents into cattle feed?

22. Thus cleverly getting the incriminating evidence destroyed by the very animals it is accused of having affected?

23. But how do we know that mad cow disease might not be caused by eating evidence of mad cow disease?

20. Oh, and by the way, if mad cow disease was originally caused by contamination from diseased sheep with scrapie, how come there have never been any scares about mad sheep disease?

21. Why has there never been a lamb crisis, even though there was mad sheep disease? Eh?

22. When you heard of British Airways' decision to ban British beef from in-flight meals, did you think to yourself: "As it's impossible to tell one kind of meat from another in airline meals, I don't really see the point of banning anything particular."

23. When you last picked up a jar of Bovril, did you wonder if there was such a thing as mad beef drink disease?

24. Have you stopped saying things like "yours, till the cows come home" and "beefing things up"?

25. Do you attribute Ian Botham's recent failure to get into cricketing admin to his nickname of "Beefy"?

26. The next time someone brings up the question of why dinosaurs vanished from the earth, will it suddenly occur to you: "Of course - Mad Dinosaur Disease!"?

All the answers to everything can be obtained from Mr Stephen Dorrell, Secretary of State for the National Health Lottery.

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