Canada confirms second case of mad cow disease in July
TORONTO – Canada on Thursday confirmed its second case of mad cow disease in as many weeks – and seventh since 2003.Shipments of cattle to the United States were halted in 2003 after the first reported cases of mad cow in Canada. Trade in cows younger than 30 months resumed last July.The latest case was of a 50-month-old dairy cow from a farm in western Alberta, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would send an inspector to aid in the investigation into the death.Last week, Canadian officials another Albertan cow died of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, an extremely rare disease that can be fatal in humans.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the deaths “raise questions that must be answered.””We need a thorough understanding of all the circumstances involved in this case to assure our consumes that Canada’s regulatory system is effectively providing the utmost protections to consumers and livestock,” Johanns said, adding he was dispatching a USDA expert to help with the investigation.The carcass of the animal was incinerated and did not enter the human or animal feed system, Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials said in Ottawa.The cow, part of a herd of 300 head of cattle on an Edmonton-area farm, was among 170 other cows that will now be tested for the disease. Those animals were born within a year of the diseased cow and are either on the same farm or have been sold to other farms.The food inspection agency’s senior veterinarian George Luterbach said milk from the dairy cow that might have been consumed by humans was not a threat.”Milk is not known to be a risk of transmission of the disease,” Luterbach said.Eating meat products contaminated with BSE has been linked to more than 150 human deaths, mostly in Britain, from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare and fatal nerve disease.Chuck Kiker, president of Billings, Mont.-based R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America, believes the USDA ordered the border reopened to Canadian cattle too soon.”In order to protect the U.S. cattle herd and U.S. beef consumers, USDA must … close the Canadian border to all beef and cattle, and work with Canada to scientifically determine the full scope of Canada’s BSE problem through mandatory testing of at least every high-risk animal in Canada,” Kiker said in a statement.The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association estimated its 90,000 members had lost more than $5.6 billion in the 30-month ban.Canada implemented a feed ban in 1997 that prohibited the use of cattle parts in certain animal feeds. Last month, that ban was extended to include all types of animal feed, pet food and fertilizers, in an effort to help eliminate BSE from Canada’s herd in the next decade.The latest case discovered means the four-year-old cow came into contact with BSE after the 1997 feed ban. Government officials said this is typical and that sporadic cases will continue to be found. Since the 1997 feed ban, close to 120,000 cows have been tested for BSE.