Pharmaceutical Industry

How the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta could be used to remove all our liberties

Warnings from civil rights groups, that increased security comes at the cost of liberty, have become such a boring old cliché most people just ignore them. It seems so obvious that the only way to combat terrorism is to  increase security and any liberties we might lose along the way are just like the eggs … Continue reading How the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta could be used to remove all our liberties

What does the Challenger disaster tell us about the meaning of “evidence”?

We’ve just been watching the excellent new BBC/Open University movie, The Challenger, starring William Hurt, telling the story of how Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman uncovered the truth behind the 1986 space shuttle disaster. As a former physicist with a passion for science stretching back as far as I can remember, I’m getting increasingly concerned … Continue reading What does the Challenger disaster tell us about the meaning of “evidence”?

Resistance resisted

New Scientist

This year marks a decade since a committee under Professor Sir Michael Swann advised the British government to curb the then wholesale, indiscriminate use of antibiotics in agriculture. The committee was established because of amply evidenced claims that the inclusion of potent antimicrobial drugs in feedstuffs for pigs, poultry and other livestock had encouraged the emergence of bacteria resistant to

How the Union got down to Brass Tacks

NFU Insight

DAVID LEE, the NFU assistant press officer at Agriculture House, Knightsbridge, was giving the new issue of Radio Times a quick once-over on the afternoon of April 26. Looking across at Roger Turff, the press officer, he said: ‘I’m about to spoil your day’. Radio Times and the Brass Tacks programme on BBC 2 was to spoil quite a number of days for both NFU members and staff

The BBC lets agriculture down

Livestock Farming

THE British Broadcasting Corporation has flipped its lid. After weeks of scrupulous impartiality throughout the general election campaign – extending to even fiction programmes – it has seemingly sought to let off steam through the medium of a new programme called Brass Tacks. This programme – billed in the Radio Times as ‘a new concept in broadcasting – is an insult to the public intelligence and professional journalism. If the hitherto much-respected BBC has any sensitivity left it will review the senior staff appointments on Brass Tacks

Animal production and public health: TV programme looks at “risks”

The Veterinary Record

More than 20 veterinary surgeons took part in radio ‘phone-in programmes throughout the country after the screening of BBC’s controversial programme Brass Tacks on May 8. The programme looked at modern intensive methods of animal production and the potential risk to public health. The programme asked whether it was time to tighten the rules on use of antibiotics even more than the regulations made following the Swann Report 10 years ago which had shown

Down to Brass Tacks

The Veterinary Record

There is always a danger in producing what is considered to be “good television”, particularly on a scientific subject, that some of the more mundane yet pertinent facts will be ignored. That was the case in the BBC2 programme Brass Tacks, broadcast on May 8. The programme looked at modern methods of intensive animal husbandry and the potential risk to the public health from antibiotics and other medicinal substances,. But as was inevitable given the type of presentation, a number of issues were raised that were not satisfactorily answered

Trial by television puts chicken on the salmonella rack

Poultry World

VIEWERS must have been left confused after last week’s BBC television programme on drugs in animal husbandry and organic versus intensive farming. The experts, aided by filmed shots of processing plants and abattoirs, told them that poultry was involved in 6,000 of the 11,000 cases of notified food poisoning in a year. Salmonella and the use of drugs was put over as a health risk in the film and pre-publicity that has brought industry protests of bias