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Lyon refuses to support end to beef ban

24 May 1999
Lyon refuses to support end to beef ban

GEORGE LYON, the former president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland who was elected to the Scottish Parliament, has refused to back calls for an immediate end to the controversial ban on beef on the bone …more…


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Lyon refuses to support end to beef ban

24 May 1999
Lyon refuses to support end to beef ban

By Johann Tasker

GEORGE LYON, the former president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) who was elected to the Scottish Parliament, has refused to back calls for an immediate end to the controversial ban on beef on the bone.

A motion from the Scottish nationalists in Edinburgh means T-bone steaks and ribs of beef could be back on dinner plates north of the border by the summer.

The proposal, which some commentators believe could speed the lifting of the ban in England, would see the ban lifted in Scotland after powers transfer on 1 July.

Some Liberal Democrat rebels are preparing to break rank with their Labour coalition partners and back the motion, according to The Times today.

But Mr Lyon, who stood down as NFUS president in March before being elected as the Liberal Democrat MSP for Argyll and Bute, will not support the proposal.

He believes that efforts to export Scottish beef could be set back if the ban is lifted before official medical advice says it is acceptable to do so, says the paper.

The governments advisors maintain there is still a minute risk to human health from eating beef on the bone.

Instead, the Lib Dems are planning to table a motion calling on the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland to give evidence before the parliament, reports The Times.

During Mr Lyons time as NFUS president, the union said it always considered the ban on beef on the bone disproportionate to the perceived risk involved.

“As farmers, we look to the independent scientists for best advice,” said George Lyon a year ago.

But he added that the governments advisors had said there were three options with which they would be happy with regard to the safety of beef on the bone.

“Only one of these involved a total ban – but it was the option the Government chose to follow,” he said.

“We believe [the] first option, of consumer choice allied to appropriate labelling, would have been appropriate.”

Mr Lyon won 11,226 votes – a majority of 2057 over Duncan Hamilton of the Scottish National Party in the Scottish elections earlier this month.

He represents an electorate of 49,451 people living in a constituency covering nearly two million acres of the Highlands and Islands.

The main income of the region, which includes the islands of Islay, Mull and Tiree, comes from forestry, farming, fishing and tourism.

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