Canada discovers 16th case of BSE

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 2, 2008
Canada discovers 16th case of BSE

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced early last week that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was confirmed in a 7-year-old dairy cow from British Columbia.

CFIA said that no part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems. The case marks Canada’s 16th domestic case of the disease, and the ninth case in an animal born after the March 1, 1999, date which Canada’s feed ban was declared effective. CFIA maintains that residue from infected feed remains in parts of the country’s feed systems and recently blamed similar circumstances for causing the country’s 13th case on which the investigation was recently completed.

“The animal’s birth farm has been identified, and an investigation is underway,”

CFIA wrote in reference to the latest case. “The CFIA is tracing the animal’s herdmates at the time of birth and examining possible sources of infection.

The age and location of the infected animal are consistent with previous cases detected in Canada.” Canada’s BSE surveillance program, which CFIA credits with the successful monitoring of the country’s cow herd for BSE, was also used in detecting this latest case. Though Canada will remain listed as a controlledrisk country for BSE as per World Organization for Animal Health guidelines, the recent discovery could not come at a worse time for Canada-Korean trade relations.

South Korea recently sent inspectors and negotiators to Canada to begin the process of reopening discussions for Korean imports of Canadian beef. Quick to react to the news in the U.S. was R-CALF USA, which continues to call on USDA to withdraw its order to allow imports of cattle from Canada which are over thirty months (OTM) of age. “USDA can no longer operate with its head in the sand when it comes to Canada’s BSE problems,” said R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard.

“This makes the fourth case of Canadian BSE in 2008, and the sixth Canadian case in animals born in 2000-2001.” R-CALF contends, with mounting evidence in support of their argument, that allowing OTM cattle into the U.S. from Canada makes it only a matter of time before BSE is discovered domestically once again. — Tait Berlier, WLJ Editor