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From: TSS (
Subject: Alberta farm identified as home of 'mad cow'
Date: January 6, 2005 at 9:35 am PST

Alberta farm identified as home of 'mad cow' News Staff

A farm near Barrhead, Alberta, northwest of Edmonton, has been identified as the home of Canada's most recently identified 'mad cow'.

In an interview with the Edmonton Sun on Tuesday, farmer Allan Degner said he hopes that, by voluntarily identifying his sick cow, he has helped the fight against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

"I just hope that by doing what I did it's going to help the whole system," Degner told The Sun. "I hope they can find out more about it."

That prospect is consolation, he said, for the loss of the friendly dairy cow named Boss he bought back in 1999.

"She was actually like a family pet," he said, explaining that Boss was used to feed milk to steer calves he planned to sell. "It was cheaper than buying milk replacer."

But in December, Degner noticed Boss was having difficulty walking.

"She had milk fever last year too, so I just automatically thought she had milk fever," he told the paper, describing the udder infection a vet treated her for again just weeks ago.

When that didn't work, Boss was euthanized and sampled for testing.

At a news conference on Monday, the day after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed Boss was infected with BSE, officials praised Degner's decision to report his eight-year-old 'downer' animal.

"I'd like to commend the cattle owner who reported this animal," Agriculture Minister Andrew Mitchell said.

"Such responsible actions will only strengthen Canada's internationally respected reputation to the highest standards of food safety and animal health."

The infected cow did not pose a threat to Canada's meet supply, Mitchell added, or jeopardize the recent American decision to reopen its border to live Canadian cattle by March.

"Canada has been assured by the United States Department of Agriculture that this case will have no impact on the restoration of live cattle and broadened beef trade," Mitchell said.

The U.S. closed its border to Canadian beef 19 months ago, when a BSE-infected cow was discovered on a northwest Alberta farm. Canadian beef producers estimate their industry has lost more than $4 billion and 4,200 jobs since then.

Commonly called mad cow disease, BSE is a degenerative disorder that affects the animal's central nervous system. It is believed that humans can contract a fatal equivalent, called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, from eating an infected cow.

Rep. Kind Says USDA to Reconsider Canadian Beef Imports
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/05/2005

A second U.S. House member from Wisconsin went on record urging the USDA to reconsider fully reopening U.S. borders to live beef imports this spring from Canada. Congressman Ron Kind sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, stating that the decision to reopen the doors just after the Canadians announced another case of Mad Cow Disease might be premature.

"I believe the USDA's priority should be the welfare of U.S. farmers, ranchers and our consumers," Kind wrote. "Therefore, the decision to reopen the border should be based on science and not an arbitrary deadline set by extraneous political considerations."

The LaCrosse Democrat says the confidence in the safety of our beef industry by Americans, as well as our export countries, has been steadily rebuilt since December 2003 when a dairy cow in Washington State tested positive for BSE. And he says that fully reopening the Canadian border to live beef imports at the very time a second case of the fatal bovine ailment has been discovered would work contrary to this recovery.

Meanwhile, recent news that Canadian feed inspectors have found blood, bone fragments and other animal materials in 41 out of 70 samples of vegetable-based feed should give the U.S. further pause, Kind wrote.

"This study shows the United States must require greater feed ban enforcement by Canadian officials that matches our own compliance efforts before the border is opened," he said.

Earlier this week, Congressman Dave Obey called upon the USDA to delay the relaxation of restrictions on the importation of live cattle from Canada into the United States, saying the move 'will do nothing to inspire confidence among consumers of beef in the United States or indicate that USDA has the safety of the food supply and the health of Americans.'


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