Canadian officials looking for 141 animals

Of the 93 dairy cattle, 55 were bull calves that would have been slaughtered at a young age. The other 38 were females and investigators have found that in November 2004 one animal was a downer cow that tested negative for the disease. Nine additional animals from this group have been found and quarantined. They will be euthanized and tested for BSE this week. That leaves 28 dairy animals of interest still as of yet unidentified.

On the beef cattle side of things, investigators are trying to determine if these animals were exposed to the same risk factors  namely contaminated feed -- or not. In addition, investigators have found that in February 2002 one of these birth cohorts was imported into the United States for immediate slaughter. Officials say there could be others and USDA is working with Canadian officials to determine if any of these other birth cohorts did arrive in the U.S. and if so, what is their current status.

USDA, in collaboration with FDA, is currently tracing the disposition of this one birth cohort known to have crossed the border and will provide further details as they are available.

USDA and FDA have had a strong program in place for years to protect the U.S. livestock population from BSE, said Ron DeHaven, administrator Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Import controls on live cattle and certain ruminant products from countries at high risk of BSE were put in place more than 15 months ago.

In 1997, both the United States and Canada finalized animal feed bans, which are the single most important safeguard to prevent the spread of the disease through the cattle population. Public and animal health in the U.S. and Canada have also been protected through ongoing surveillance efforts and inspection of animals at slaughter for neurological signs, and now by the removal of specified risk materials from the human food supply.

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of "real food for real people", you"d better live real close to a real good hospital.

Dr. Neal Barnard