Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canadain Cow Tests Positive for BSE

I came across the following article in the Rapid City Journal

A Canadian agency has reported that another case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been found, this time in a 72-month-old cow. It is the 18th such case in Canada, according to the United Stockgrowers of America’s Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund,

An official with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency told Shae Dodson, R-CALF USA communications coordinator, that another case of the disease, commonly known as mad cow disease, was confirmed Feb. 25.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture later verified the Canadian report, according to a news release from R-CALF USA. The group said Canadian officials had not notified the World Organization for Animal Health about the case as of last Wednesday.

“The CFIA said the BSE-positive case was confirmed Feb. 25, 2010, which means the CFIA and all other governments who knew about this latest BSE case kept it a secret from the public for almost two weeks,” said Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA chief executive officer. “If we had not discovered this information, the public may never have known.”

The 6-year-old infected animal would have been born in 2003 or 2004, making it the 18th Canadian-born case and the 11th animal diagnosed with the disease eligible to be exported to the United States.

Also, the discovery of an animal born several years after Canada imposed a ban on high-risk animal parts from cattle feed indicates that the ban is not working or is not being enforced, said Kenny Fox of Belvidere, president of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. Canada banned such high-risk cattle parts from feed in 1997, the same year the U.S. feed ban went into effect.

In November 2007, USDA implemented a rule that allows Canadian cattle over 30 months to be imported into the U.S. as long as they were born after March 1, 1999.

Animal scientists have said cattle older than 30 months are more likely to have the disease. They also believe that it is transmitted to animals that eat feed containing infected tissue, typically spinal cord or other nerve tissue.

R-CALF USA and the Stockgrowers have called on USDA to again close the border to Canadian cattle older than 30 months.

R-CALF USA, the Stockgrowers Association, five national consumer groups and several individual ranchers have a pending lawsuit against USDA’s rule in a South Dakota federal court. As a result of this litigation, the court ordered USDA to reopen the rule and to revise any provisions of the rule it deems necessary, according to the R-CALF news release.

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