4 November 1999
Ox-heart protest put on hold
By FWi staff
PLANS to deliver an ox heart to the Prime Minister today were put on hold, to give the Government a chance to resolve the beef crisis.
David Ashcroft, from Selborne in Hampshire, was due to lead a delegation of farmers to Downing Street to protest at “unnecessary delays” in the resumption of beef exports.
But Mr Ashcroft, 50, told the London Evening Standard he had decided to give diplomacy a chance, and will be eating the ox heart for dinner tonight.
“I hope the British and French governments can resolve this mess in the next week, otherwise the protest will be back on,” he said.
Farmers were to deliver the ox heart to Downing Street in protest at the conceding of fresh discussions to the French over British beef safety.
The delivery was to be accompanied by a plea for “No more red tape on our beef industry to please the French”.
European Commissioner David Byrne gave Paris a two-week deadline to lift its ban or face legal action.
Agriculture Minister Nick Brown received scathing criticism that he had caved in by agreeing to another expert review tomorrow.
He said the review to clarity technical points was preferable at this stage to lengthy legal action.
Mr Byrne is due to deliver his final conclusions on the beef row to the Commission on 16 November.
The EU lifted its three-and-a-half-year BSE ban on British beef in August. France has continued a unilateral ban citing concerns about the safety of British beef.
Several regional governments in Germany say they will oppose any efforts by their government to lift its ban.