Food inspection watchdog confirms mad cow disease in mature Alberta bull

CANADA - Canada has confirmed its ninth case of mad cow disease since 2003, in an Alberta bull.
calendar icon 8 February 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Wednesday a mature bull that died on a farm last week tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Dr. George Luterbach, the agency's senior veterinarian for Western Canada, said the animal's death caused it to be identified as an "animal of interest" at the farm level as part of a national surveillance program

Provincial and federal tests then confirmed the BSE.

Luterbach wouldn't identify where in the province the animal was when it died.

"Where the animal is found at the time of its death is not as important as where it lived in its first year of life, insofar as BSE has been associated - mostly associated - with consumption of contaminated feed in its first year of life."

An investigation is underway to find other animals born within a year of the bull that may have been exposed to the same feed source, Luterbach said.

"These animals are removed, destroyed, tested and disposed of in a manner that they do not enter into the feed system," he said, adding officials are certain this particular bull also did not enter the feed system.

He said preliminary findings suggest the bull was born and raised in Alberta.

Eight previous cases of BSE have been detected in Canadian cattle since May 2003, when the discovery of an Alberta cow with the disease caused the United States to slam the border shut to cattle exports entirely.

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