Canada Reports BSE
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association reports that a six-year old dairy cow in Alberta is Canada’s first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in almost a year. The 77-month-old animal was confirmed February 18 to have had the brain-wasting disease. Official confirmation is expected to be contained in a monthly update this Thursday.
The latest case in Canada appears to involve a cow that was born after the 1997 feed ban. The initial Canadian feed ban and implementation left questions about its efficiency, as evidenced by the number of BSE infected animals which were born after the feed ban was implemented. Then in July of 2007, Canada established enhanced feed ban regulations.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported the BSE discovery to the World Organization for Animal Health. A full investigation, already underway, is following international guidelines. No part of the animal’s carcass has entered the human food or animal feed systems.
R-CALF USA RESPONDS
R-CALF USA points out that – at just over six years of age, this cow would have been born in 2004 and infected with BSE either in 2004 or 2005, which provides absolute evidence that the BSE agent was circulating in Canada’s feed system long after USDA declared that Canada had its BSE problem under control. According to R-CALF USA, the Canadian government notified USDA officials about this latest case in February, but did not plan on publicizing the fact until March 10 when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency posts its next monthly animal disease report.
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard asks, – why is the United States – which annually imports hundreds of thousands of Canada’s high-risk cattle – the last to know when BSE is detected in Canada’s cattle herd. Like this case, the BSE-positive animal detected in 2010 was kept a secret by USDA, and the public was not informed until R-CALF USA issued a news release almost two weeks after the disease’s confirmation.
R-CALF USA Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee, points out that – consumers – now more than ever – should be telling their grocers they want the products in the meat counter labeled with country-of-origin information so they can decide on their own whether to avoid products from countries with ongoing disease problems, particularly now that USDA chooses not to disclose such important disease information.
Posted by Haylie Shipp