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From: TSS (
Subject: Cow given supplement, cattle owner says
Date: January 13, 2005 at 1:28 pm PST

Cow given supplement, cattle owner says
Globe and Mail Update

The owner of the latest Alberta animal to test positive for mad-cow disease said Thursday that the supplement that could be responsible was given to more than 100 head of cattle in total.

Wilhelm Vohs told reporters in Innisfail that he normally fed his herd grain but that he had purchased a supplement in the spring of 1998.

“I bought that feed in good faith. Did I have any concerns? No I did not,” he said.

He said that the feed had been given to 104 head of cattle, nearly three-quarters of which have since been sent to feedlots.

George Luterbach, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency official at the same news conference, stressed that there is no reason to assume that all, or any, of these animals also contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the proper name for mad-cow disease.

“I'd like to stress that this feed is just one thing that we're looking at,” Mr. Vohs added in later comments.

The news that Mr. Vohs' cow had tested positive for BSE was an unwelcome revelation for the Canadian beef industry, which had been hit barely a week before with another case of BSE and is still hopeful that the United States will relax import restrictions on March 7 as scheduled.
Mr. Vohs said that the cow in question, a six-year-old Charolais, had acting normally before injuring itself in a fall. A veterinarian examined the animal and recommended it be put down. Only then did testing show that it had contracted the brain-wasting disease.

Amid fears of renewed border controls, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein proposed a wholesale slaughter of older cattle to restore confidence in the Canadian beef supply. He said Wednesday that he wouldn't mandate a cull, even if he had the authority, but that one may be inevitable. On Thursday he had reportedly backed away from the idea, which had been rejected by several other provinces and by the CFIA.

The cow owned by Mr. Vohs is significant because it was born after control on feed were put in place in 1997. The new rules, which limited the practice of grinding up ruminant animals and using the product to feed other ruminant animals, were not applied retroactively and no one seems able to say how long the pre-1997 feed might have stayed in the system.

On Thursday the CFIA official, Mr. Luterbach, pegged the odds as “very low” that any such feed could still be in use

More to come


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