EDMONTON, Alta. — Three more farms, including one in Saskatchewan, were quarantined yesterday and more countries banned Canadian beef as officials continued tracing the history of a BSE-infected cow.
It’s the first case of Mad Cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy to hit Canada in 10 years.
Many Canadian livestock carriers parked their trucks yesterday, as slaughterhouses and auction markets closed their doors and sent cattle back to their point of origin. The U.S. border remained closed to Canadian beef, and border backups resulted from thorough checks as well as a heightened sense of security.
“Over the next while we’re going to see virtually no transport of animals until we have a better handle on exactly what the situation is and how quickly we’re going to get this under control,” Gordon Mitchell, a consultant with the Alberta Beef Producers told Truck News yesterday.
Mitchell was still hopeful for a quick return to the norm.
“Our hope is that we can get the American border re-opened very quickly,” says Mitchell. “We hope it’s within a week but we really don’t have any idea at this point in time.”
Even some truckers who don’t haul livestock encountered problems at the border. Some Ontario garbage haulers were reportedly turned back over concerns there may have been animal by-products among the garbage they were hauling. And the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is even warning drivers not to take lunches containing meat with them if they intend to cross the U.S. border.
Roberge Transport, a 146-truck cattle trucking operation, runs 38 per cent of its miles in the U.S. Owner Roger Roberge told Truck News that the shutdown is already hurting the company.
“It’s affected us dramatically,” says Roberge. “Everything’s on hold.”
Meanwhile, officials continue to work feverishly to track down the infected animal’s origin. Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister, Clay Serby, was devastated to learn the animal had Saskatchewan roots.
“To hear first of all that we have BSE in Canada was a difficult message,” Serby said at a news conference. “To think that it may have had its origins in Saskatchewan is a doubly tough message for our province to hear.”
All cattle that lived alongside the infected cow on a Northern Alberta farm have been killed and are being tested for mad cow disease. Results should be known within three days, according to officials.
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