23 May 1997

Call for direct action in crisis

ANGRY farmers promised direct action at a BSE crisis meeting in Somerset last week.

Beef producer Fran Evans, Greenacre Farm, Taunton, called for more protests. Having sold a batch of stock just hours before the meeting in Langport, she said finished cattle were now worth £300 apiece less than before the crisis.

"People have become desperate and have nothing to lose. We will end up taking drastic steps to survive. Thousands of us converged on the Tory party conference at Bournemouth last year. The government soon realised we meant business."

Catering outlets and burger chains need to be persuaded to start reusing British beef, said Mrs Evans. Plus, we have to stop importing "third world rubbish".

But NFU deputy president, Ben Gill, said the way forward was to highlight the strength and value of our own beef, rather than to use the "knocking concept" towards others. "While our gut reaction may be to think that queuing up and picketing restaurants is the thing to do because it makes us feel better, it is not," he said. &#42