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From: TSS (216-119-132-19.ipset12.wt.net)
Subject: CATTLE FUTURES HAVING A FIELD DAY, NOTHING LIKE PLAYING THE MAD COW FOLLIES
Date: November 23, 2004 at 1:18 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: CATTLE FUTURES HAVING A FIELD DAY, NOTHING LIKE PLAYING THE MAD COW FOLLIES
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2004 15:20:17 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: BSE-L@LISTSERV.KALIV.UNI-KARLSRUHE.DE


##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

U.S. Cattle Prices Rise, No Mad Cow Test Results Yet
Tue Nov 23, 2004 03:40 PM ET


By Randy Fabi and Bob Burgdorfer

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Cattle futures prices soared on Tuesday
on market talk that a final U.S. Agriculture Department test would clear
an animal suspected of mad cow disease, but the USDA said that test
results were not yet complete.

The $32 billion American cattle industry has been on alert for the past
five days over a possible second U.S. case of the brain-wasting disease.

A suspect animal produced two "inconclusive" results in screening tests
for mad cow disease last Thursday, and the department is conducting
confirmatory tests.

USDA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison, asked about a sharp rise in cattle
prices, said the test results were not available.

"The test are not complete yet. We do not have the results," she said.

Live cattle futures sped higher at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on
trading floor talk that the confirmatory test showed the suspect animal
was not infected with the disease, as well as on rainy weather affecting
cattle feedlots in Texas.

Cattle futures for December delivery closed up 2.6 cents at 87.25 cents
per pound.

"The weather started it all. After that, somebody started a rumor that
these tests were coming back negative," said Jim Brooks, floor manager
at the CME for R.J. O'Brien. "After that there was heavy fund buying."

DELAY PUZZLES INDUSTRY

The delay in the government's confirmatory test results ran counter to
industry expectations of an announcement by now.

The USDA scheduled a private briefing for industry groups on Monday
night about the results of the final, sophisticated test but abruptly
canceled it without explanation, according to a source who spoke on
condition of anonymity. Continued ...


Some industry sources speculated that the USDA was conducting more than
one confirmatory test on the suspect animal. The USDA refused comment.

"We will provide information in the proper context at the time
information is conclusive, which is what I would think the markets would
prefer," Harrison said.

The first confirmed U.S. case of the brain-wasting disease was found
last December in a Holstein dairy cow in Washington state. That halted
U.S. annual beef exports of $3.8 billion, although several countries
have since resumed their purchases.

It also prompted the USDA to roll out additional safeguards against the
disease, including a ban on sick or crippled cattle from being used in
human food. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to decide whether
it will ban cattle spinal cords and brains from feed for pigs, horses
and other animals.

The FDA on Tuesday released a routine report showing that 10 U.S.
feedmills and protein blenders did not fully comply with the agency's
1997 rules to ensure cattle feed is not contaminated with the cattle
remains. The 10 represented 1.7 percent of 578 facilities inspected, FDA
said.

With the suspect animal now being tested, a key issue for the industry
is whether it was born after the 1997 livestock feed ban. The ban is
viewed by regulators and industry as the single most effective barrier
to protect U.S. cattle.

The uncertainty prompted some to demand that the USDA stop announcing
inconclusive test results for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE),
the formal name of mad cow disease.

"There is no consumer benefit, but there is a major negative impact on
the livestock industry, when inconclusive BSE test results are
announced," said Randy Patterson, president of the Livestock Marketing
Association.

The USDA has done rapid screening tests on more than 121,000 cattle
since June as part of stepped-up efforts to detect mad cow disease. Last
summer, the USDA announced two other animals tested inconclusive in
screening tests. Both were found free of mad cow disease in confirmatory
tests.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

http://olympics.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=6899569

http://olympics.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=FXTFHQEBQOOUKCRBAELCFFA?type=domesticNews&storyID=6899569&pageNumber=1tss

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

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