it is showdown time once again in Europe as uk channelises efforts towards reneging its promise of culling more than 125,000 cattle heads, touted as the only measure to reduce the risk of spreading the mad cow disease. Seeking another eu review on the whole beef episode, it has at its disposal evidence to the effect that the disease is expected to disappear by 2001 and the cull agreed to earlier would not have any great impact.
At the recent eu agriculture meet in Brussels, uk 's proposal was summarily rejected as other agricultural ministers stuck to their stand that culling was the central element of a broader programme aimed at wiping out the bovine spongiform encephalopathy disease. All over Europe, the beef scare has led to farmers losing out heavily and the only way public opinion can be tilted in favour of the beef is to get on with the cull, feel the eu ministers.
The Florence Accord, arrived at in June 1996, clearly stipulates that the eu ban on British beef will be lifted only when the country completes all eradication measures. The Brussels rebuff could in all probability lead to uk deciding to shelve its plans for the cattle cull, thus setting up the stage for a renewed eu-uk confrontation.
Meanwhile, Switzerland announced that it would slaughter upto 230,000 cattle in order to rid the country of the mad cow disease within three years.
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