Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another "mad cow" in Canada

December 18, 2007 --The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a 13-year-old beef cow from Alberta. It was the country's 11th case since the disease was first discovered in 2003.

The sick animal was born before the implementation of Canada’s feed ban in 1997. The CFIA expects to detect a small number of cases over the next 10 years as Canada progresses towards its goal of eliminating the disease from the national cattle herd.

The U.S. has had three confirmed cases of mad cow since December 2003, include one animal born in Canada. The U.S restricts Canadian cattle imports to animals born since March 1, 1999, and requires at-risk materials (brain, spinal cord) to be removed from older animals at slaughter.

Despite the popularly-held theory that mad cow disease was caused by feeding scrapie-infected sheep to cows, the origins of the fatal brain-wasting disease remain unknown.