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Another Mad Cow Found in Canada Amid Many Loopholes

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:29 AM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Mad Cow Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Defective and Dangerous Products, Food Products and Restaurants, Meats, Wrongful Death

Mad cow disease is found in a dairy cow in Alberta- the 12th case in Canada since 2003.

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Mad Cow Disease. It is rare but if a person consumes any part of the animal or animal parts from a diseased cow it always turns into the fatal brain wasting variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease also known as vCJD.

So this story is cause for concern.

For the second time in two months, a new case of mad cow disease has been identified in Canada. This is the 12th incident since the disease first was discovered in Canada in 2003. Mad cow disease is also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is telling the public not to worry since no part of the carcass made it to the human or animal food chain.

The sick animal, a six-year old dairy cow, was found in Alberta under a national monitoring program that looks for such things. As the country tries to totally eliminate the disease, it expects to find a small number of cases.

In 2003 the U.S. stopped imports from Canada but shipments of meat have been resumed.

Part of the spread of the disease was contained in 1997 when a feed ban prevented the grinding up of diseased cows, sheep and goats to be fed back to cows, sheep and goats as a cheap form of protein and to clean up waste. It was also suspected to spread BSE. 

But this animal was born after the food ban was put into place and is the seventh infected animal discovered since the food ban. 

Dr. George Luterbach, a senior veterinarian with the CFIA, told the Canadian Press that such cases are to be expected in animals born just after the feed ban. He said this indicates “that the feed system had some residual contamination within that system.”

Last year the ban was widened to include removing carcass parts from animal and pet food and fertilizers.

Consumers Union says there are huge loopholes that put the public at risk. The 1997 feed ban in the U.S. and Canada exempts pigs and horses. It also exempts chicken litter being fed back to other animals - litter often containing meat and bone meal from cattle.

And there is the loophole of feeding blood products back to other animals.

Blood-based calf formula is still fed to calves.  The brown red milk formula cleans up waste, saving money for processors and is still being fed to calves as a cheap protein substitute.

Marc Richard of CFIA tells IB News. “It is allowed under the World Organization for Animal Health which 140 nations belong to including the U.S.”  

Consumers Union would like to see a total ban like one in the European Union that prevents all animal protein from being fed to animals used for food.

"Until Britain banned all protein going into animal feed, they still had 40,000 animals in the UK with BSE" senior scientist with Consumers Union, Michael Hansen tells IB News

The U.S. has had its own outbreak of BSE. In December, a Washington state cow tested positive. It was later determined that cow came from Canada.  Two other cases of mad cow have been found in the U.S. as well as among some deer in western states. 

Dr. Hansen says the U.S. specifically has not been able to trace the confirmed cases of BSE in the U.S. and did not check suspected animals that were intended to go into the food chain.  In fact he says when the owner of the Washington state facility wanted to test his other cows, "The USDA said no, we don't want to do that."

At least 150 people worldwide have died of CJD, most of them in Britain. The CDC tracks cases of variant CJD which is linked to BSE. The average age of death from it is 28. 

PETA, the animal organization says this is a good enough reason to consider becoming a vegetarian. #


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