BSE is again in the headlines in the European Union, this time because the French Agriculture Minister, Jean Glavany, has accused the British of causing the crisis. “It was they who exported this disease. They even forbade the use of feed in Britain…so, morally, one day our English friends will have to be judged…from the moral point of view, this is unsustainable”. The Minister stated that because most European countries imported animal protein feed from England between 1985 and 1995, there was no case for complacency. He said that if BSE was continuing to incubate in animals, it could also be incubating in humans and nobody knows when it will show itself…the incubation period for BSE and its human variant, New Variant Creuzfeld Jacob Disease, can be as long as thirty years. Now in Spain, 300 cows have been slaughtered in Galicia on Portugal’s northern frontier and the measures against BSE have reached a total cost of 142 million USD (3.9 billion roubles) and the Spanish farmers want to know who is going to pay the costs. In Portugal, the economy of the Azores islands has been severely damaged by the impact of BSE, since beef is their main trade. The problem is that there are suspicions today that beef is only the tip of the iceberg, since pigs, sheep and chickens have also been fed with pulverised protein feed. The crisis may even spread to fish which are farmed in fisheries, fed also with artificial feed. It was claimed last Saturday in Portugal by the newspaper “Pъblico” that artificially reared salmon can cause cancer. Feeding herbivores with protein feed made from pulverised bones and brains of dead animals sounds like an idea from a lunatic asylum. To have actually put it into practice in so-called civilised and developed nations like those in the European Union seems incredible but as impossible as it may sound, it happened. The result is what we see today. Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon

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