Madrid’s regional government hopes to relax EU laws that call for rotting livestock to be removed from fields—a precaution against mad cow disease—because the removal denies carrion-munching vultures a meal, the AP reports. “When a sheep or cow dies in the countryside,” said one ornithologist, “we have to allow it to stay there to act as nourishment for these birds.”
Mad cow disease has killed five people in Spain, the first in 2005 and the latest in January. The EU law requires all animal carcasses be disposed of, even if the creature died of natural causes. In the Madrid area, the lack of carrion has sent vultures diving into landfills when fresh loads of trash arrive. The EU is considering an amendment to let some carrion remain.