Meat market

March 2010

Now to the meat of the matter. In late February, in an extraordinary move, the Cattle Council announced its support for the importation of beef from countries that have had problems with Mad Cow Disease (or to give it its correct name, BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy), a disease originally caused by feeding cattle — whose natural diet consists of grass — bits and pieces of sheep. Grossly stupid.

But my problem with importing beef from countries such as America, whose record in the safe processing of beef is not unblemished (read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation for the full horror story), but why import beef at all? It makes no sense to bring beef into a country that produces some of the finest beef in the world — see last month’s column for the comment from Neil Perry that Cape Grim is the best beef in the world.

As you might imagine, this idea is not without its critics. What I fail to understand is why the Cattle Council, which claims to represent Australian beef farmers, would endorse such a stupid decision? It’s all to do with parity apparently — we export more than 60 per cent of our beef, so have to let a bit in.

What can you do? Demand Australian pasture-fed beef. Accept no dodgy substitutes.

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