Pet Food May Lead to Mad Cow

US - Ranchers struggling with high hay costs and burned out ranges are being warned that feeding cattle cheap pet food could cause an outbreak of mad cow disease.
calendar icon 19 December 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

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"Both buyers and sellers must know that any pet food containing cattle or other ruminant material cannot be fed to other cattle."
veterinarian Earl Rogers.

Some pet foods contain animal byproducts that if fed to beef or dairy cows pose the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, says state veterinarian Earl Rogers.

"It is possible that some pet food manufacturers who have heard of the depletion of feed sources in Utah because of drought and fire may offer their scrap material to Utah ranchers," said Rogers. "Both buyers and sellers must know that any pet food containing cattle or other ruminant material cannot be fed to other cattle."

Feeding pet food to cattle, which is banned under state and federal law, could result in the slaughter of an entire herd, he said.

Government inspectors regularly visit feed manufacturers to ensure that animal byproducts are not being mixed with feed destined for cattle. And any food source containing ruminant protein must be clearly labeled.

State officials, however, are worried that some farmers may be tempted to supplement cattle feed with the banned material because pet food scraps are commonly fed to swine and poultry.

"We're just being cautious," said state field veterinarian Wyatt Frampton of the warning.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune

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