- BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany
says it has found another case of suspected mad cow disease -- raising
the total number of suspected or confirmed cases to nine.
- The Agriculture Ministry in the northern state of Lower
Saxony said on Sunday that a cow slaughtered near Osnabrueck the previous
day had been acting bizarrely and was believed to be infected with bovine
spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
- Germany had until last month insisted it was immune to
BSE, so the arrival of the disease has sent shock waves across the meat-
and sausage-loving country, decimating sales of beef and other meat products
and rattling consumer confidence.
- Meat infected with the brain-wasting BSE can trigger
the fatal new variant Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans.
- Police sealed off the farm near Osnabrueck, which has
about 300 cows. Five BSE cases have been confirmed so far and four are
now suspected, pending tests -- still a pale shadow of the crisis in Britain,
where 180,000 cattle have contracted BSE since 1986, and 87 cases of vCJD
have been reported in humans.
- Facing growing public resentment over their handling
of the crisis, German leaders have criticised the European Commission in
Brussels. But the Commission has pointed out that Germany long thwarted
more aggressive anti-BSE measures because it believed its livestock was
free of the disease.
- EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler said on Saturday
that Berlin had hampered efforts to address the spread of mad cow disease
with lame excuses and confusion over responsibilities.
- He said Germany had not made the EU's work any easier
"by trying, as usual, to assign the blame elsewhere".
- The Commission told Germany three months ago that its
inspectors had found traces of animal-based feeds -- banned since 1994
on suspicion of transmitting BSE -- in three- quarters of the feed samples
taken, according to a confidential EU report obtained by the daily Die
- However, no action was taken until after BSE was detected
in Germany last month.
- Deputy farm minister Martin Wille dismissed Fischler's
charges and said German government officials had co-operated quickly and
efficiently with the Commission -- which he accused of delaying follow-up
information that Germany had requested.
- "It is odd that the European Commission, despite
repeated queries, delayed releasing the report for many weeks and thus
left German authorities in the dark," Wille said.
Site Served by TheHostPros