Fourth Canadian mad cow found; likely won’t hamper trade

OTTAWA — Canadian food inspection officials have confirmed that yet another cow has been diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Beef exports look to be safe despite another
case of mad cow in Canada

Various news outlets are reporting that the U.S. border will not close to Canadian cattle or beef shipments as it did when the first BSE-affected cow was found in Alberta in May 2003.

The following beef ban ensued for two years. U.S. officials were finally able to lift the ban last July for animals under 30 months of age after winning a bitter court battle over American protectionist groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also proposed lifting all cattle-related restrictions on Canadian cattle sometime in 2006.

According to CBC News, the culprit six year-old cow was found over the weekend on an Alberta farm. It is the fourth “mad cow” found in that province over the last few years. The second and third cases were identified two weeks apart in December 2003 and January 2004 in two cows that had being shipped to Washington State.

CFIA told CBC that the U.S. opened the border accepting the fact that future BSE cases in either country would be probable.

There’s little doubt that protectionist groups in the U.S. like R-CALF, which fought for months to keep the border closed permanently to Canadian cattle exports, will use the incident to spark a new round of fearmongering against Canadian beef.

The agency said that the feed ban imposed in 1997. The problem is that farmers may be still using old feed purchased before the ban. A cow can be infected by just one one-thousandth of a gram of bad feed, CBC reports.

— with files from CBC News

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