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NINETY-FOUR

by Richard O'Grady

As an employer, I should know
what BSE can do.
I believe the risks of handling meat,
the splinters and the spume
justify the clothes, helmet, chain,
filters to cover the nose.

But what's the use if the men don't know?
Or dismissive, "It's so hot!"
They eat their sausage, burgers, pies
at every break and tea
Why take precautions, slowing them up,
for something they cannot see.

not even under a microscope,
or the fiercest, finest lens.
The Government too, its advisors
came late and still stonewalled.
More questions remain than answered.
Not satisfied at all.

Where did it start?
Where does it go?
Whose decision to feed...explain?
What did they know?
And for how long?
Who decided to drop fish meal?

They knew of the risk to feed sheeps heads.
Then why did they let it happen?
If you track right back to eighty four,
I'm sure you would find somewhere,
a dusty minute all concealed,
naming the guilty men.