Farmers call for compensation for damage from mad cow disease and protection
of agriculture

National farmers' movement representatives have demanded that the
government take effective measures to deal with mad cow disease and invoke
agricultural safeguards as Japan's livestock industry has been damaged by
the disease, and the production of vegetables, soybeans, and rice has been
threatened by import increases.

Representatives of the National Federation of Farmers' Movement
(Nominren) and the National Campaign for Defense of the People's Food and
Health (Shokkenren) went to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries on October 1 to call on the ministry to ban the use of meat and
bone products as animal feed and fully compensate breeders for damage.

Pointing out that the ministry has made mistakes in allowing the infected
cows to be processed to meat and bone products, the farmers criticized the
ministry for just making consumers worried about the possible danger in

Domestic vegetable production is in critical condition due to a rapid
increase in imports and a sharp fall in price. Temporary safeguards are
being invoked for green onions, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and rushes.

The farmers demanded that permanent safeguards be invoked for these three
items after the temporary safeguards are ended on November 8, and that
onions and carrots be also protected under the safeguards.

"For many years imports have increased and prices have dropped
consistently. Many of our fellow farmers have committed suicide out of
despair. The ministry must understand our real condition," they said. (end)