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Not just British beef

The cow is a simple animal, yet for centuries its meat symbolised the English character. But nationalists elsewhere have also found mythic value in beef.

By prospect   August 2003

Book: Beef and Liberty Author: Ben Rogers Price: Chatto & Windus, £17.99

Cattle are among the greatest benefactors of European civilisation. For thousands of years they have given unstinting service both as beasts of burden and as bountiful providers of milk and meat. They were also one of the early harbingers of empire, hefty agents of Europe’s colonisation of Australia and North and South America. They have created plenty of trouble recently, what with BSE and foot and mouth, but Europeans seem to love their cows as much as ever. In fact, they give each one of them a subvention…

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