- MADRID (AFP) - French Agriculture
Minister Jean Glavany said on Sunday the British should be morally condemned
for having exported animal feeds which caused mad cow disease.
- "It is our English friends who exported this evil,"
he told the Madrid newspaper El Mundo. "They should be morally condemned
for this. They even afforded themselves the luxury of banning these feeds
domestically while allowing them to be exported."
- "From a moral point of view it is intolerable,"
- The French Association of Victims of Creutzfeldt-Jakob
Disease,the human variant of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or
mad cow disease, has filed suit against "persons unknown" in
the French and British governments and in the European Union's institutions.
- The action was initiated by families of French people
who have died from Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.
- In their writ the families said that Britain bore a heavy
responsibility for "authorising the mass export of animal meal, which
they recognise as being the main source of contamination."
- Glavany said in his interview on Sunday the mad cow crisis
should provide the stimulus for a return to better quality agriculture.
No country was now safe from mad cow disease, he warned.
- "From the moment we all imported hundreds of thousands
of tonnes of animal meal at the worst point in time between 1985 and 1995
there is no reason to suppose that any country is safe," the minister
- "Scientists tell us the incubation period is about
five years," he continued: "So if it reached its high point in
1996, 2001 should see the end of the progression, and normalisation should
start in 2002."
- Britain was the first European country to identify BSE
in its cattle herds, and suffered the worst outbreak anywhere.
- Just before Christmas a Paris court opened an investigation
into the claims that French, British and European Union officials were
guilty of involuntary homicide for allowing the disease to spread from
Britain to mainland Europe.
- The inquiry is being led by examining magistrate Marie-Odile
Bertella-Geffroy, who has previously probed scandals involving contaminated
blood and human growth hormone.
- The discovery of eight new cases of mad cow disease in
France was announced last week, bringing the total number of cases detected
since the beginning of 2000 to 161.
- The French government began a major screening programme
in the New Year to test all the country's cattle over 30 months old for
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