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Montevideo, February 23rd 2024 - 03:03 UTC



South America News

Thursday, January 4th 2001 - 20:00 UTC
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Mad cow in Spain

At least four cases suspected of the dreaded mad cow disease have been reported in Spain causing panic among consumers and plummeting beef sales.According to reports from Spanish farmers associations the situation has been made worse by the "non panic" government's policy of not making public the farms involved."This makes us all suspicious and the whole industry is suffering the consequences precisely when sales have dropped 40%", said Manuel González, president of the Galician farmers association.Apparently two of the last cases reported are in the province of León, that is the main beef producing area of Spain.Another controversy is brewing in Galicia where the first outbreak in Spain of bovine spongiform encephalitis was reported and the government ordered the elimination of 300 head of cattle. But the dead animals instead of been incinerated apparently are stored in an abandoned mine."We don't have yet the appropriate facilities to proceed, so it was decided to store them in the mines, which represent no risk", said the Galician government in an official release.

Millions of acres under fire

At least two and a half million acres of prime pastures in Argentina's heartland are being ravaged by fire with no immediate prospects of an end since temperatures are expected to remain above 35o. Celsius for most of January. According to the National Plan to Combat Fire, PNMF, that coordinates operations, fires are still burning in the provinces of La Pampa and Mendoza, with some inlets into Cordoba. "We're facing a meteorological scourge", said Oscar Massei, Argentina's Environment and Sustainable Development Secretary, adding that during last year La Pampa was exposed to exceptional rainfall, "four times the normal, plus almost a million acres under water. Now we have exceptional pastures, and electric storms that after dropping all their water in Chile ignite our dry fields with catastrophic consequences". However Mr. Massei also blamed farmers for setting fires without the necessary precautions and during adverse weather conditions. Most of the fire fighting is done with tractors and ditches since there' not much water in the area. "We're also using spe

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