While the Balearics eagerly awaits news of the two new cases of mad cow in Majorca and Minorca, a political battle has broken out over the local government's handling of the problem. Balearic President Francesc Antich yesterday assured the farming community that the latest suspect cases are the government's “biggest concern” and called for more support from central government to confront the mad cow crisis. But Antich's words fell on deaf ears with the opposition Partido Popular calling for Balearic Agriculture Minister Mateo Morro “to grab the bull by the horns” and take some form of effective action to deal with the problem. “The government has dealt with mad cow in a ridiculous way,” the PP's Joan Cardona said yesterday. Antich, however, is holding central government responsible. Antich said that last year he was promised 300 million pesetas by Madrid to help fund a Balearic fire campaign “that money has still not arrived,” he said. On that note, he said that central government has to get more involved in helping the Balearics combat mad cow. But there does appear to be public funding in the Balearics to help livestock farmers and yesterday Morro announced a 20 million peseta aid package for the two farms first hit by mad cow in Minorca, one of which has already had its cattle slaughtered.

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