Canada confirms new case of mad cow disease

Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:28pm EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada confirmed a new case of mad cow disease on Tuesday, the 12th since 2003, and said the animal in question was a six-year-old dairy cow from Alberta that had most probably eaten infected feed.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which vows to eradicate bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) within a decade, has consistently said it expects to find a few cases of the disease.

The CFIA said no part of the animal had entered the human or animal food supply.

The cow was born after Canada and the United States introduced a ban in 1997 on cattle feed that contained ingredients made from rendered cattle and other ruminants. At least four other cases have involved animals born after 1997.

"(This) probably reflects some residual contamination within the feed system," CFIA senior veterinarian George Luterbach told Reuters.

"These events are certainly not necessarily welcome but they're certainly not a surprise."

Many trading partners shut their borders to Canadian cattle and beef products after the first home-grown case in 2003, dealing a massive blow to the industry, and Ottawa has fought hard to restore market confidence.

"In recent years we've really ramped up our targeted surveillance, tested over 200,000 animals ... and it remains confirmed that BSE is a very rare event and not an increasing event in Canada," Luterbach said.   Continued...

<p>A Canadian cow is pictured in a field near Teulon, Manitoba, July 28, 2006. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>