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U.S. cattle groups want answers after lastest Canuck BSE case

08 February 2007

US - Major U.S. cattle groups are looking for answers after Canada's most recent case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). But they'll likely have to wait before getting the information they really want.
Canada found its latest case of BSE in a bull from Alberta Wednesday. A Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) press release described the animal as "mature," but didn't indicate the animal's age. A CFIA spokesperson told Brownfield no further information about the animal would be released until the Agency's investigation is complete, which she said could take as long as two weeks.

The last Canadian case of BSE, found in July of 2006, turned up in an animal born in 2002, well after Canada implemented a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban in 1997. A ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban is supposed to prevent BSE transmission. That's why the key issue in the latest case is the age of the infected bull.

The fresh BSE find in Canada also comes as a USDA rule is pending that would allow virtually all Canadian cattle born after March 1st, 1999 - 18 months after Canada implemented its feed ban - into the U.S. in a public comment period. That proposed USDA rule is in a public comment period now that is currently slated to end March 12th, Even before the most recent BSE case, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) had both asked USDA for further study on the potential impacts of the proposed rule.

And Jay Truitt, NCBA Vice President of Governmental Relations, told Brownfield his group wants the details on this latest case. "The confirmation itself seems to get the most of the headlines," he said. "It's the follow-up activity over the next week or so that's really of paramount importance in our decision making."

This new case represents the 10th head of cattle born in Canada that has turned-up BSE positive, though only nine of those cases were discovered in Canada. And National Milk Producers Federation Vice President of Communications Chris Galen told Brownfield that's why USDA and Canada both have some explaining to do.

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Source: Brownfield Network


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