Faced with a possible case of mad cow in the Balearics, after a suspect nine-year-old cow has been found in Minorca, the Balearic government yesterday decided to set up a special commission to co-ordinate the government's response to the mad cow crisis, and primarily devise a damage limitation project in order to ease consumer fears. The commission will hold its first meeting this morning and the talks will be chaired by Balearic Chief Minister, Francesc Antich and involve the health services, consumer bodies, the environmental authorities and representatives from the agricultural industry. Government spokesperson, Antoni Garcias, said yesterday that the first task facing the commission, is to adopt a series of control and management measures to ensure that a close watch is kept on mad cow in the Balearics. According to Garcias, keeping a close watch on developments is the biggest problem at the moment and he said that new tests are to be carried out on the suspect cow in Minorca. Garcias, on behalf of the Balearic government, gave absolute assurances that everything possible will be done to combat and control mad cow and called on all sectors involved with the beef industry to give its full backing to the commission. “The commission will try to keep the general public and commercial groups as fully informed as possible and abreast of all developments. “It is vital that the commission gets its message across to the people and that consumers know that the problem is under control,” he added. Garcias also said that it is important that every effort is made to protect farming in the Balearics, a sector which is vital for the livelihoods of thousands of people “especially in Minorca.” The government believes that the detection of the possible mad cow case in Minorca, is a clear demonstration that the measures introduced by the local authorities are effective. While further teats are being carried out on the dead cow found in Minorca, the Ministry for Agriculture is trying to establish where the cow originally came from. It appears that the suspect cow was bought four years ago from another farm, which as far as the farmer can remember, may have been in either Holland or Germany.

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