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From: TSS (216-119-143-128.ipset23.wt.net)
Subject: Canada's Move In Mad-Cow Case Fans Import Feud (WSJ)
Date: January 4, 2005 at 9:40 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Canada's Move In Mad-Cow Case Fans Import Feud
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:26:06 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
To: BSE-L@LISTSERV.KALIV.UNI-KARLSRUHE.DE


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

Canada's Move
In Mad-Cow Case
Fans Import Feud


By TAMSIN CARLISLE and SCOTT KILMAN
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
January 3, 2005; Page A2

Canadian officials placed an Alberta farm under quarantine following
confirmation of Canada's second indigenous case of mad-cow disease, and
North America's third.

And with the news, objections got louder to the Bush administration's
plans to reopen the border to imports of live Canadian cattle.

During a news conference yesterday, Canadian agriculture minister Andy
Mitchell said the birth farm of the infected cow has been quarantined as
officials attempt to identify and trace other animals at "equivalent
risk" of infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a
fatal brain-wasting disease also called "mad cow." He said the
investigation would focus on other cattle born within a year of the
infected eight-year-old dairy cow, which was euthanized and tested for
BSE after displaying symptoms on another Alberta farm.

Canadian officials believe the most likely source of infection in this
latest BSE case -- as well as the two previous North American cases --
is contaminated feed. They suggest that each of the three infected cows,
as young calves, likely consumed protein-enriched cattle feed containing
ground-up remains of other infected cattle, which may have been imported
to Canada from Britain during the late 1980s and early 1990s. BSE
typically has an incubation period of several years following exposure
to the disease-causing agent, a prion, or type of altered protein, found
in the brains and spinal cords of infected animals.

But already, a prominent U.S. ranchers group is contesting the Canadian
explanation, contending that the latest mad-cow case is proof that
Canada isn't properly enforcing cattle-feed regulations considered
crucial in controlling the spread of BSE. Based on average incubation
periods for mad-cow disease, the Canadian cow "most likely became
infected with BSE after Canada implemented its meat-and-bone meal feed
ban in 1997, suggesting that Canada's feed ban was not enforced,"
according to a statement released yesterday by the Ranchers-Cattlemen
Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America.

The group has been lobbying Congress to oppose U.S. Department of
Agriculture plans to lift a 19-month ban on live-cattle imports from
Canada. That ban was put in place after Canada's first mad-cow case came
to light in May 2003. Last Wednesday, the USDA announced that it planned
to allow imports of Canadian cattle under 30 months old to resume in
March. That announcement came just one day before the latest suspected
case arose; that case was confirmed late Sunday, following additional
tests at a laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

USDA officials reiterated yesterday that they intend to stick with their
plan, which would clear the way for U.S. meatpackers to import millions
of Canadian cattle in 2005, helping to ease a shortage that has pushed
up U.S. cattle prices to near-record highs while raising retail beef
prices for American consumers. Ron DeHaven, head of the department's
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said in a statement that the
Bush administration had anticipated the possibility that Canada would
find a few more BSE cases but that the country was still considered "low
risk."

"This new case gives ammunition to the consumer organizations and
livestock organizations who think the U.S. is moving too quickly," said
Charles Levitt, senior livestock analyst at Alaron Trading Corp., Chicago.

In trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange yesterday, the live-cattle
contract for February delivery rose 0.57 cent a pound to settle at 88.40
cents a pound. Wednesday, the contract price dropped in response to the
USDA decision to ease import restrictions on Canadian cattle, which have
been priced significantly lower than U.S. cattle since the start of the
mad-cow scare.

Some other U.S. farm groups have started complaining to Congress, which
has 60 days to review the USDA proposal. The National Farmers Union
asked yesterday for congressional hearings and called the Bush
administration proposal "premature and unacceptable." Members of the
complaining farm groups have benefited from the higher U.S. cattle
prices that have followed the disruption of U.S.-Canada trade in beef
and cattle because of the mad-cow scare.

Still, the Bush administration is unlikely to retreat from its plans to
reopen the Canadian border, in part, trade experts say, because the USDA
is trying to set an example for countries that temporarily closed their
borders to American beef when the first U.S. case was diagnosed 12
months ago, extinguishing what had been a $3 billion annual market for
U.S. meatpackers. The Bush administration doesn't want to give those
countries grounds to close their borders again if a second mad-cow case
is discovered in the U.S. -- a distinct possibility.

Of the three BSE-infected cattle found in North America to date, two
were born in Alberta, including the most recent Canadian case and a
Holstein dairy cow that was shipped to Washington state, where she
became the first U.S. mad-cow case, disclosed in December 2003. Canada's
first indigenous BSE case, a beef cow that lived its final year on an
Alberta farm, was born on a farm in the neighboring province of
Saskatchewan.

Humans who eat contaminated beef can contract a similar fatal brain
disease. However, Canada and the U.S. have both recently introduced
regulations requiring the riskiest parts -- brain and spinal tissue --
to be removed from slaughtered cattle destined for human consumption.
Canadian officials gave assurances that no part of the most recent
BSE-infected cow entered the human or animal food chains.

Japan was the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. beef before the sick
Washington state cow materialized. Japan has yet to reopen its borders,
despite an agreement in October to allow imports of beef from U.S.
cattle less than 21 months old, the youngest age at which Japanese
regulators have detected the disease in Japanese cattle. Canadian beef
also has been banned from Japan, and officials from the two countries
are scheduled to discuss the latest mad-cow case this week. Japanese
officials in Washington and Ottawa couldn't be reached for comment
yesterday, when Japan celebrated a national holiday.

Some animal-health experts, including Canadian officials, believe that
BSE was introduced into Canada through the import of cattle from
Britain, which was in the grips of an epidemic involving more than
180,000 infected animals. The remains of some of the imported British
cattle are thought to have been recycled into protein supplements for
cattle rations before scientists realized that the practice spread the
disease.

Write to Tamsin Carlisle at tamsin.carlisle@wsj.com
and Scott Kilman at scott.kilman@wsj.com


http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110471530901614939,00.html


TSS

######### https://listserv.kaliv.uni-karlsruhe.de/warc/bse-l.html ##########






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