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Campaigners Demand 'Mad Cow Disease' Criminal Inquiry

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Mad Cow Disease News & Views page.

They claim previous governments knew meat from cows infected with BSE posed a risk to humans but kept it quiet.

The first cases of BSE were identified in 1986 but the government continued to reassure the public in subsequent years.

Relatives of those who have died from the human form of mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD), handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street earlier and laid a wreath in memory of the 171 British victims of the disease.

They then moved on to the Ministry of Justice where the police were called to remove them during a protest against Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, who was a health minister and health secretary in the 1980s.

Among the protesters was Christine Lord, 53, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, who lost her 24-year-old son Andrew Black to the brain-wasting disease.

She said: "They (the government) didn't give us an informed choice, or any other family an informed choice. The mantra was 'British beef is safe for you and your children to eat'.