First Manitoba mad cow discovered

WINNIPEG — Federal food and agriculture officials confirmed Canada’s sixth case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy since a single cow was first discovered in Alberta three years ago.

Tests conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed that a cow near Gimli, Man. was infected with BSE, also referred to as “mad cow” disease. It is the first such case in Manitoba. The first four Canadian cases were traced back to Alberta farms, while the fifth cow was discovered in April on a cattle ranch in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.

US officials reopened the border to cattle
knowing more mad cow cases were probable

However, the latest incidents, including the Manitoba discovery, are not expected to interfere with a U.S. decision last year to reopen the border to cows older than 30 months of age. The Americans had closed the border to Canadian cattle for two years when the first Alberta bovine was diagnosed in May 2003.

The latest animal in Manitoba was at least 15 years old and therefore born before Canada’s feed ban took effect in 1997, reports Canadian Press.

Over 155,000 animals have been tested since Canada’s first mad cow case in 2003. “The detection of this case demonstrates the ongoing effectiveness of Canada’s surveillance program,” the CFIA said in a release.

Officials on both sides of the border have said repeatedly that the U.S. agreed to reopen the border accepting the fact that future BSE cases in either country would be likely.

Recent numbers show that that the Canadian beef industry is on a slight rebound for the first time since 2003. The national cattle herd has declined for the first time in three years.

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