EU agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler has called for the root-and-branch review of the Common Agricultural Policy, which was scheduled for 2002 under the Agenda 2000 reform package, to take account of the new demands imposed upon it by the growing BSE crisis in Europe. He added that the Commission was prepared to consider paying for the slaughtering of whole herds, even where there had not been a single case of BSE, because of the likelihood that one would arise later and render its livestock un-saleable. He added that the Commission was also considering the introduction of export refunds and the use of “alternative sales outlets” in developing countries, to help shift growing beef stockpiles.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent