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Canadian BSE Cases Blamed on Ineffective Feed Ban

20 May 2008

CANADA - In the mid-February cold, an Edmonton-area dairy farmer watched a thin, sickly animal struggle and finally go down. As required, the cow's head was sent for testing and a few days later, the country's 12th case of mad cow disease was confirmed.

Government officials said the case was not unexpected, and five years after the traumatic discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy on Marwyn Peaster's northern Alberta farm, the public barely noticed case No. 12.

But it raised a few eyebrows among some ranchers and researchers. This animal was born in 2002, a full five years after the 1997 feed ban that was supposed to protect the Canadian herd from BSE infection.

In fact, of 12 BSE cases uncovered since May 2003, at least half are BABs -- born after the ban -- a development that raises serious questions about the efficacy of the 1997 feed ban which prohibited the risky practice of feeding rendered cattle parts to cattle.

Banning ruminant-to-ruminant feed reduces the chance of cattle ingesting the abnormal, disease-causing prion that causes the disease. (Feed made for pigs and chickens can still contain some rendered cattle parts.)

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Source: Edmonton Journal


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