Beef sales in the Balearics are free falling with consumers turning to other meat because of the mad cow scare in Spain and butchers and supermarkets have said that sales of beef had plummeted by between 40 and 60 percent. Despite assurances from the government, both in Palma and Madrid and the experts about the safety of meat, especially Balearic beef, the calls for calm amongst consumers have failed to ease the general public's fears. When the first case of mad cow was discovered on the mainland, there was little reaction on the Balearic high streets, but as the whole country gradually started to talk about mad cow and the discovery of more cases in Spain make the front pages of newspapers and top the television news bulletins, beef sales in the Balearics have been dropping at a rapid rate, especially over the past few days. The national beef farming industry said yesterday that it expects to lose some 7'000 million pesetas between now and Christmas. While sales of chicken and pork have started to rise, the majority of consumers have opted to substitute beef with fish. In some areas of the island, fish sales have shot up by 100 percent. Ostrich meat is also proving to be increasingly popular.

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