The Unio de Pagesos, the Balearic farmers union, yesterday threw its full support behind a joint bid, by farming associations across Spain, to take legal action and sue Great Britain and the European Union for negligence over the mad cow crisis currently gripping the country. Angry Spanish and Balearic farmers will lodge their case with the courts over the next few days. Balearic farmers want to see Britain and the European Union made to cover the costs and losses incurred by beef farmers. Farmers believe that both governments are guilty of allowing the sale of animal feed and live cattle stock to third countries when such a practice was prohibited. Brussels in particular is being blamed for having minimalised the situation and having failed to have investigated it sufficiently before it was too late.
As far as farmers are concerned, both amount to negligence and Balearic farmers want both governments to cover the costs of the new controls which have been introduced by central government in Madrid - which does not have sufficient funding to cover the costs itself. Balearic beef farmers are in close contact with local butchers in a bid to try and find a market for local beef which cannot be sold in markets. In Madrid, butchers are turning to new exotic meats such as crocodile, (which the health services are still checking) kangaroo, reindeer, snake and even zebra but consumers are proving rather hard to convince. It is also proving equally hard for inspectors to trace the origins of the suspected mad cow case in Minorca.