30 July 1997
Beef-farmer suicides to soar

MORE beef farmers will commit suicide or die of stress-related illnesses over the BSE crisis than the total number of people killed by the diseases human equivalent, CJD, the Commons was told today.

The warning was sounded by Tory Christopher Gill (Ludlow) as he launched a short debate on the future of the beef industry.

Mr Gill declared: “It is likely that in 1997 there will be more farmers committing suicide and dying of stress-related illness, brought about by bureaucracy and coping with the strain of seeing their cattle needlessly destroyed, than all the deaths caused by CJD”.

He urged: “Surely, this is a case, if ever there was one, where the cure is infinitely worse than the disease.”

Euro-sceptic Mr Gill insisted that MAFFs first priority was to get the European Union ban on British beef exports lifted.

He called for confirmation that the Government would put forward to Brussels – as a matter of great urgency – a proposal that beef from cattle born after August 1, 1996, be exempt from current restrictions.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Jeff Rooker confirmed that the Government had put forward ideas to Brussels based on a date-based scheme.

Stephen Alderman, PA News