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BSE Timeline

Jan. 2003 - An eight-year-old cow was sent for slaughter to a provincially licensed meat facility. The animal showed signs of illness, and a provincial meat inspector condemned the carcass as unsuitable for human consumption. No meat from the anim...


Jan. 2003 – An eight-year-old cow was sent for slaughter to a provincially licensed meat facility. The animal showed signs of illness, and a provincial meat inspector condemned the carcass as unsuitable for human consumption. No meat from the animal entered the food chain. The head of the animal was collected and submitted routinely as part of the BSE surveillance program. Preliminary routine testing by the province suggested BSE, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted further tests.

May 18 – The preliminary test was confirmed by the CFIA. The farm from which the infected animal came was placed under quarantine.

May 20 – World Reference Laboratory in Weybridge, U.K, confirmed the sample was positive for BSE.

May 20-June 16 – Herds in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. with possible connections to the infected cow were depopulated and tested for BSE. All test results were negative.

June 9 – An international panel of scientists confirms Canada’s BSE investigation was thorough and effective.

June 18 – A federal-provincial compensation program for cattle producers was announced.

July 4 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency released its report on the BSE investigation.

Aug. 8 – The U.S. government announced it would partially lift the ban on Canadian beef.

Oct. 9 – Two new compensation programs for cattle producers and processors were announced.

Oct. 24 – Two new programs were introduced to help Alberta’s meat processing industry develop solutions to deal with the surplus of cattle over 30 months old.

Oct. 31 – The U.S. released proposed rules to consider opening the border to live cattle less than 30 months old. If the rules were approved as written, 85 per cent of Alberta’s cattle export trade with the U.S. would be restored.

Dec. 23 – The U.S. government announces a “presumptive positive” case of BSE from a cow in Washington state. The diagnosis is confirmed Dec. 25.

Jan. 6, 2004 – American and Canadian officials announced jointly that DNA evidence showed that in all likelihood the infected cow was born in Alberta.

March 8 – The U.S. announced a second comment period on opening the border to live cattle less than 30 months old.

April 7 – Comment period closed.

April 19 – The U.S. announced it would remove all restrictions on the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months old.

May – R-CALF filed an injunction in the U.S. which put a hasty end to the April announcement that allowed bone-in cuts of meat (among other beef products) to cross the border from Canada. n

– Timeline in part provided by the Government of Alberta.


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