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Farmers' union wants end to live animal imports

The Swiss farmers union has demanded an end to imports of live animals that are at risk of carrying BSE or mad cow disease.

The measures suggested by the union are to be set up bearing in mind the situation in Britain, France and Germany in mind. "The steps taken in these countries against mad cow disease will take time before becoming effective," the president of the union, Melchior Ehrler said.

He added: "The measures we're suggesting will help boost consumer confidence in Swiss beef." But he also warned that the ban on meat-based animal feed should come into force at the start of the year 2001 and not as late as March, as the Swiss government suggested.

Around 1,200 animals are imported into Switzerland each year.

The farmers unions has asked the Swiss government to pay for 75 per cent of the costs of banning meat-based fodder for all farm animals.

Since December 1990 ruminants in Switzerland have ceased to be fed meat-based feed. Switzerland has counted 363 cases of Mad Cow Disease since then.

Seventeen new cases were registered this year alone.

swissinfo with agencies

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