John Bull’s Beef: Meat hygiene and veterinary public health in England in the twentieth century

Hardy, A; (2010) John Bull’s Beef: Meat hygiene and veterinary public health in England in the twentieth century. Review of agricultural and environmental studies, 91 (4). pp. 369-392. ISSN 2117-4857

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Britain played a pioneering role in the introduction of public health practices in the nineteenth century, yet veterinary public health was never a component of that project. The British have for the most part been indifferent to the risks of disease transmitted through meat and milk. This paper explores the reasons for this indifference, which include the nature of Britain’s livestock disease regime; the country’s prosperity before 1940; the fact that the public health organisation was run by medical men and administered by local authorities; the relatively small and politically weak character of the veterinary profession; the vested interests of administrators, farmers and the meat trades, and economic imperatives. Despite persistent veterinary pressure, it was not until the very end of the twentieth century that European Economic Community regulations and the BSE crisis finally operated to confer supervisory powers over meat production on the veterinary profession

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for History in Public Health


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