January 2, 2004


Argentine Farm Group Pressing for Animal Meal Ban


A leading agriculture group in Argentina, the Argentine Rural Society (SRA) has called the government to institute bans on the production of animal-based feed.


"Senasa (Argentina s National Agriculture Health and Quality Service) must prohibit the production of beef-based meal as a way of ensuring that this type of product is not used in feed" for cows, sheep and other livestock, the group said in a statement, according to the paper.


The presence of animal matter, such as brain and spinal cord tissue, in cattle feed has been said to be a primary means of the transmission of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, also known as mad-cow disease. The disclosure last week that a cow in the U.S. had contracted the disease, the first in U.S. history, has raised concern that stricter prevention methods are needed to prevent it from infecting Argentina's 50-million herd of cows.


While the use of animal matter in feed for cows is banned in Argentina, it is still used in feeding chickens, pigs and household pets. SRA fears such meal could wind up in feed for cows and raise the risk of the appearance of BSE in Argentina.


On Tuesday, the Agriculture Secretariat announced that the World Bank had approved a $1.4 million project to step up surveillance, research and testing of cattle for BSE in a bid to prevent its outbreak.