German Scientists First To
Test Soil For Mad Cow Link
By Douglas Busvine
BERLIN (Reuters) - Scientists took soil samples on Thursday from the farm hit by Germany's first case of mad cow disease to try to discover whether cattle can contract the brain-wasting disorder from grazing in fields.
The tests came after Environment Minister Juergen Trittin warned this week that the agents which caused BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) might be able to survive and multiply in the ground.
Separately, Germany's lower house of parliament was due to vote later on legislation to ban the use of meat-based feeds for livestock, blamed for spreading the disease.
The measure should also clear the upper house of parliament on Friday and take effect on Saturday, making it the fastest act of legislation in Germany in over a quarter of a century.
Martin Wille, head of the farm ministry's BSE crisis team, said Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would discuss with regional leaders on Thursday evening who would pay the 350 million marks ($155 million) cost of destroying stocks of animal-based feeds.

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