Canada finds 11th BSE case in old beef cow

Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:38pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada confirmed a new case of mad cow disease on Tuesday, its 11th since 2003, and said the animal in question was a 13-year-old beef cow from Alberta born before a feed ban designed to prevent the disease.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said no part of the animal's carcass had entered the human or animal food supply.

"These cases, while I suppose unwelcome, are not unexpected," said George Luterbach, a senior veterinarian with the CFIA.

The cow was born before Canada and the United States introduced a ban in 1997 on cattle feed that contained ingredients made from rendered cattle and other ruminants.

Protein from the brains and spines of diseased animals can spread bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), known as mad cow disease.

Canada has now also banned the risk material from all types of livestock feed in an effort to eliminate BSE from Canada's herd within 10 years. Until then, the CFIA said it expected to find a few cases of BSE.

The cow spent its entire life on the same farm, but was euthanized when it became thin and sick, Luterbach said.

Because of its age and condition, the carcass was held for testing under the BSE surveillance program, which has tested about 190,000 cattle since 2003, he said.

The agency will now trace other cattle from the same farm born around the same time that may have consumed the same feed, and destroy them, he said.   Continued...