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As Germany Comes to Grip with its Own Mad-Cow Crisis, Where was the E.U.?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019


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The first real casualty of Germany's burgeoning Mad-Cow crisis must be the great pride Germany takes in its reputably efficient, high quality and “green” agriculture industry. The second and third casualties were the Federal Ministers of Agriculture and Public Health, both of whom recently handed over their resignations to Chancellor Schroeder under sharp criticism that they ignored the potential for a German Mad-Cow crisis, which broke when the first German cases were registered in late November, 2000. Hundreds of beef cattle will meet a similar, premature end. We must wait to learn whether German consumers will become casualties of the crisis.

Research Article
Copyright © 2001 by German Law Journal GbR 


(1) See, Morris, Gaven, “Fear and Mystery of Cross Species Killer”, 26 Oct. 2000; and “Timeline: How the Crisis Unfolded”,, 15 Jan. 2001. See also, the following articles from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (English Edition): “Health Minister Rejects Criticism in BSE Affair From Government-Funded Scientific Council”, 3 Jan. 2001, No.2/1; “BSE Found in Live Animal”, 5 Jan. 2001, No. 4/1; Manfred Schaefers, “Ministers Offer New Proposals”, 5 Jan. 2001, No. 4/1; “Commissioner Rebukes Ministers for BSE Response”, 8 Jan. 2001, 6/2; Axel Schnorbus, “Unilever Not Beefing About Mad-Cow Crisis”, 8 Jan. 2001, No. 6/2; Heinz Stuewe and Roswin Finkenzeller, “Head of BSE Commission Weighs Need for Consumer Protection Ministry”, 9 Jan. 2001, No. 7/2; Roswin Finkenzeller, “Being Bavarian Does Not Help Against BSE”, 9 Jan. 2001, No. 7/2; “Two German Ministers Resign Over BSE Crisis”, 10 Jan. 2001, No. 8/2; “Greens Leader to Head Agriculture Ministry, Social Democrat in Charge of Health”, 11 Jan. 2001, No. 9/2; “Despite Sharp Attack by Schroeder, Farmers Say They Will Cooperate on Policy”, 12 Jan. 2001, No. 10/2; Helmut Buender, “Germany's Green Oasis Needs Refreshing”, 12 Jan. 2001, No. 10/2; Barbara Weiland, “Happy Cows Make Farmers and Consumers Happy”, 12 Jan. 2001, No. 10/2; “States Urge National Standards for Handling BSE”, 13 Jan. 2001, No. 11/2; Frank Pergande, “In Farming, Size Can Matter”, 13 Jan. 2001, No. 11/2; Lukas Weber, “German Farms Produce Big Yields on Small Patches of Land”, 13 Jan. 2001, No. 11/2; “Bavaria Announces Its Own Ministry For Health, Nutrition and Consumer Affairs”, 16 Jan. 2001, No. 13/3; “State Government Provides Millions to Fight BSE”, 17 Jan. 2001, 14/3; “Consumers Lose Confidence in Beef Over BSE Crisis”, 18 Jan. 2001, No. 15/3; “Ministry Promises New Measures to Fight BSE, Says At Least 500 Cases Likely This Year”, 19 Jan. 2001, No. 16/3; “Cabinet to Debate Anti-BSE Measures Next Week”, 20 Jan. 2001, No. 17/3.Google Scholar

(2) A regulatory scheme for the common market in beef was implemented in 1986 (Commission Regulation 805/68, 27 June 1968). The Union also implemented regulatory controls on the quality of wine (Commission Regulation 822 and 829/87, 16 March 1987) and specifications for banannas (Commission Regulation 404/93, 13 February 1993). The most dramatic action taken by the Union was its embargo of British beef (Commission Decision 96/239, 27 March 1996), an act that was upheld by the European Court of Justice. The Court embraced the Commission's actions citing the gravity of BSE and the danger of its transmissibility to man as a real risk “which vindicates the decision.” (European Court Decisions 1998, I-2211).Google Scholar