Protest at drugs ‘scare’

Agricultural Correspondent
Sunday Telegraph, 29 April 1979

The National Farmers’ Union is preparing to send a strongly-worded letter of protest to Mr Ian Threthowan, director general of the BBC, about a forthcoming television programme which will claim that people may be harmed by eating meat from cattle, pigs and poultry which have been treated by veterinary drugs.

Other objections have been made by representatives of Britain’s farm vets, butchers and meat wholesalers who fear that a “Brass Tacks” programme due to be screened on BBC2 on May 8 will unjustifiably scare the public into buying less meat.

The union, which represents 140,000 farmers in England and Wales, together with the British Veterinary Association and the National Federation of Meat Traders, are angry that they were not consulted about the contents of the programme.

They also object to the front cover of next week’s issue of the Radio Times which will carry the picture of a young pig and the words: “Health Warning: Meat and poultry may seriously affect your health.”


The programme, which will be followed by a studio discussion and phone-in programmes on local BBC radio stations, deals with modern farming methods and the use of drugs to treat livestock.

Details of the programme, which contains evidence about the widespread availability of drugs on Britain’s intensive live-stock farms, have leaked to farmers, wholesalers, and vets connected with the industry.

The National Farmers’ Union said yesterday: “Necessary drugs which are used in meat and poultry production are used under strict Government and veterinary controls and we are seriously worried about the damaging implication that certain modern farming techniques are a risk to the public.

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