Mad Cow Furor - Spain Dumping
Dead Cows In Strip Mine
Overwhelmed by new sanitation rules stemming from Europe's mad cow scare, Spanish authorities have provoked an uproar by dumping dead cows in an abandoned mine near a village.
The regional government in Galicia, where Spain's two confirmed cases of mad cow surfaced in November, said yesterday that the remains of some 100 cows which died in accidents or of natural causes have been placed in a disused quartz strip mine just outside Lanza in La Coruna province and covered with quicklime.
The dispute comes as officials in another agricultural region, Castile-Leon, reported two suspected cases of the illness yesterday. Officials in Galicia said the mine burial technique conforms with EU health regulations. They did not say how many dead animals would eventually end up in the mine.
Residents in Lanza are worried that the carcasses will poison streams or ground water.
Lanza, with a population of about 500, falls under the jurisdiction of Mesia, whose mayor, Jose Fraga, appealed to the Galician government to halt the operation.
The mine is 300 metres from one of the houses in Lanza and half a mile from a primary school, Galician agriculture department spokesman, Manuel Cruz, said.
The Spanish government said carcasses must be turned over to local agricultural authorities and incinerated. The problem is that Galicia has about a million cattle and only one incinerator, Mr Cruz said. "It simply can't cope," he said.
France launched an ambitious programme yesterday to test all 20,000 or so cows over 30 months old slaughtered each week for mad cow disease, six months ahead of an EU deadline. In November, the EU decided that all cows over 30 months old must be tested before entering the food chain.

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