Farmers block roads in mad cow disease protest

Rush-hour action snarls traffic in Brussels
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The Independent Online

Farmers blocked roads into the Belgian capital Brussels the capital early today, snarling rush-hour traffic in a protest action to demand more government support to combat mad cow disease.

Farmers blocked roads into the Belgian capital Brussels the capital early today, snarling rush-hour traffic in a protest action to demand more government support to combat mad cow disease.

The farmers drove trucks and tractors at a snail's pace on some of the main roads, creating jams several miles long. The farmers headed for a meat market in Brussels and were seeking to talk to key government ministers later today.

The farmers complain they have become the main victims of the mad cow crisis.

Beef consumption has fallen by some 20 percent in Belgium since the crisis re-emerged in Europe last fall.

Authorities have found three cases of mad cow disease in Belgium since systematic testing for all cattle over 30 months was introduced at the start of the year.

In all, 22 cases have been found in Belgium since 1997.

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