Canadian Mad Cow

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Anonymous

<A HREF="http://www.mytelus.com/news/article.do?pageID=canada_home&articleID=1331523" TARGET="_blank">http://www.mytelus.com/news/article.do?pageID=canada_home&articleID=1331523</A>

This link has the story. jim

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A

Anonymous

Here is a link to the Edmonton Journal which lists some of the herd owners known so far.

<A HREF="http://newsdirectory.com/go/?f=&r=na&u=www.edmontonjournal.com" TARGET="_blank">http://newsdirectory.com/go/?f=&r=na&u=www.edmontonjournal.com</A>
 
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Anonymous

I know that there's a few Canadian ranchers here. How is this affecting you guys? As I understand it (and I'm media-challenged), the cow was in Alb. but was born in Sask. and had several calves over the years - wherabouts currently unknown.

I hear that there's a lot of hype going on but that the chances of the infected meat being processed and affecting humans is low. Still, they're ordering the termination of the entire ranch?

How you guys holding out through this?

Lisa

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Anonymous

I'm in central U.S.(Kansas) and find the whole mad cow thing incredible. Consider the facts: The disease was observed prior to 1985 by vets in Great Britian. Articles in feed trade journals started showing up about that time. It was in the early 90's before anyone suspected it could transfer to people. More than 150,000 English cattle were eventually found to have it. Incubation period seams to be approximately 7 years in cows and people. Nearly all people who contracted it likely ate infected beef products regularly for years. All but a few were residents of Great Britian. Cattle only get it from eating brain and related tissues from other infected animals. Live cattle cannot spread the disease. This is without question a manmade problem.

Second, consider the food safety issue. Hundreds of millions of serving of beef had been consumed by people in Great Britian from animals exposed to mad cow through their diet. About 100 human cases resulted, not the 100,000 some predicted. Eating anything is not 100% safe. 9000 people died in the US last year due to food poisoning. Dozens die each year due to the human form of the disease we call bangs in cattle. Over the counter pain killers lead to kidney failure and death in thousands each year. Flu kills thousands who could have been immunized. We are not 100% safe.

The prion that causes mad cow is undetectable in muscle tissue even in cows who have died from mad cow. Cooking to pasturization temperature kills almost all prions.

Mad cow disease needs to be dealt with appropriately, to be sure, but destroying all the cattle that ever shared a pasture with an infected animal to stupid, economically foolish, and sends the message to consumers that mad cow has the potential to be a plague that it never was and cannot be.

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Anonymous

Alberta is a big place, almost the size of Texas. The affected ranch is several hundred miles from the major cattle area in Alberta.

It is tough right now as no cattle are being killed, so culls have to be fed and many industries are losing money.

However, the reaction of quarintine and destruction of the entire herd is the right thing. All the herd mates will be tested, and if no further cases of BSE are found, this whole ordeal will fade away.

The owner of the cattle will be compensated under federal guidlines designed to make ranchers more willing to report monitored diseases.

If further cases are found, and the border remains closed, many will go broke.

I agree BSE poses very little human risk, but public perception is fact. The extra effort into assuring the public our beef is safe will be worth it.

As for the facts, the cow was 8 years old. She exhibited classic symptoms of BSE, but was condemned for pneumonia. Her carcass was rendered for fertilizer or chicken feed, all the paper work is in order to show she, nor any other ruminant was sent for cattle feed.

8 other herds including the herd of origin in Saskatchewan are under quarantine and will be tested if more cases are found at the first herd.

Jason

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Anonymous

Thank you, Jason, for the informative reply and the responsible attitude. I agree that human contraction is small percentage-wise, but with the media & public opinion out there about it, there seems to be no other way. Our prayers are with you Canadian producers that it will be one isolated case & the "hype" goes away soon.
> Alberta is a big place, almost the
> size of Texas. The affected ranch
> is several hundred miles from the
> major cattle area in Alberta.

> It is tough right now as no cattle
> are being killed, so culls have to
> be fed and many industries are
> losing money.

> However, the reaction of
> quarintine and destruction of the
> entire herd is the right thing.
> All the herd mates will be tested,
> and if no further cases of BSE are
> found, this whole ordeal will fade
> away.

> The owner of the cattle will be
> compensated under federal
> guidlines designed to make
> ranchers more willing to report
> monitored diseases.

> If further cases are found, and
> the border remains closed, many
> will go broke.

> I agree BSE poses very little
> human risk, but public perception
> is fact. The extra effort into
> assuring the public our beef is
> safe will be worth it.

> As for the facts, the cow was 8
> years old. She exhibited classic
> symptoms of BSE, but was condemned
> for pneumonia. Her carcass was
> rendered for fertilizer or chicken
> feed, all the paper work is in
> order to show she, nor any other
> ruminant was sent for cattle feed.

> 8 other herds including the herd
> of origin in Saskatchewan are
> under quarantine and will be
> tested if more cases are found at
> the first herd.

> Jason



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Anonymous

Actually, I've been pleasantly surprised at how the national media here in the US is handling Mad Cow. The CBS news reports that I've seen have been more responsbile than RCALF's first comments. And I just saw on the 'net that the other 149 cows in the herd the BSE cow was from had tested clean for BSE. That's a good thing.

Thank you, Jason, for the
> informative reply and the
> responsible attitude. I agree that
> human contraction is small
> percentage-wise, but with the
> media & public opinion out
> there about it, there seems to be
> no other way. Our prayers are with
> you Canadian producers that it
> will be one isolated case &
> the "hype" goes away
> soon.
 
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Anonymous

> "Mad cow disease needs to be dealt
> with appropriately, to be sure,
> but destroying all the cattle that
> ever shared a pasture with an
> infected animal to stupid,
> economically foolish, "

Given that this is a manmade disease, and that our beef/cattle etc can no longer be exported to many countries, costing us millions; other than slaughtering the cattle, how would YOU find the source of the single positive cow's infection? It is highly likely that some incorrect feed (ie chicken feed) was fed to this cow at some point in her life, and to find the source, the only reliable test is on brain tissue--ie slaughtering herds. Should we as Canadians just keep our borders closed and live with the possibility of a case every year or two instead? That would cost us billions, not the pittance tracking it now will cost in comparison. JMHO as a Canadian, veterinarian and cattle producer. V
 
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Anonymous

You are 100% correct..sad as it is. It would be so easy! I had a bull who wandered to my neighbors quite a few years ago..they put him in their barn & fed him some chicken feed to hold him for me. This was really before the regs etc, but what a simple thing!
> Given that this is a manmade
> disease, and that our beef/cattle
> etc can no longer be exported to
> many countries, costing us
> millions; other than slaughtering
> the cattle, how would YOU find the
> source of the single positive
> cow's infection? It is highly
> likely that some incorrect feed
> (ie chicken feed) was fed to this
> cow at some point in her life, and
> to find the source, the only
> reliable test is on brain
> tissue--ie slaughtering herds.
> Should we as Canadians just keep
> our borders closed and live with
> the possibility of a case every
> year or two instead? That would
> cost us billions, not the pittance
> tracking it now will cost in
> comparison. JMHO as a Canadian,
> veterinarian and cattle producer.
> V



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Anonymous

> Given that this is a manmade
> disease, and that our beef/cattle
> etc can no longer be exported to
> many countries, costing us
> millions; other than slaughtering
> the cattle, how would YOU find the
> source of the single positive
> cow's infection? It is highly
> likely that some incorrect feed
> (ie chicken feed) was fed to this
> cow at some point in her life, and
> to find the source, the only
> reliable test is on brain
> tissue--ie slaughtering herds.
> Should we as Canadians just keep
> our borders closed and live with
> the possibility of a case every
> year or two instead? That would
> cost us billions, not the pittance
> tracking it now will cost in
> comparison. JMHO as a Canadian,
> veterinarian and cattle producer. The reaction to a TSE infected cow in the US would be exactly the same. My point is that the prescribed reaction is based on a perception of what the public wants. I disagree completely with the notion that public perception is fact. This infected animal was in the destroyed herd for only one year. When they were destroyed looking for something that could not possibly have been there(BSE incubation is 3 to 7 years), the public would reasonably suspect the disease is comunicable. The test for BSE is a physical examination of brain tissue. CWD in the deer and elk population looks the same under tissue examination. Since CWD is a transmittable TSE, why not consider the possibility that it may be zootic? A recent issue of Feedstuffs magazine quote Canadian Ag. officials as saying the symptoms were not classical BSE in the infected. The discription of the animal sounded a lot more like CWD in deer. Further, the chicken feed theory is highly unlikely. Control of feeding animal proteins has been implimented to minimize the chance outbreak should an infected animal be unknowingly slaughtered. The chicken feed would have to contain byproduct from an imported animal or product in a time period when such imports were illegal. I understand that no stone can be left unturned in the effort to assure the public that the beef supply is safe. I don't believe a "smoking gun" is going to make us understand where this came from. Until cooler heads prevail and the world community looks at this disease with a little more common sense, embargos and other actions will continue to needlessly destroy or disrupt this industry.

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Anonymous

I stand by my agreement with the procedures taken by Ag Canada and the feds. Without traceback, our export market will be sunk. I have wondered if the cow was actually infected with CWD instead of BSE, but histologically there are apparently differences which can differentiate the two, thus the positive identification of BSE from Britain being pivotal in the announcement of BSE instead of the first documented cattle infection with CWD.

And it wouldn't be ground up positive cattle being fed to chickens to cause her to become infected if she ate chicken feed, it would have been ground up sheep skulls infected with scrapie, same as it started in Britain. (unless you know of a different cause of the outbreak than that....)

V
 
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Anonymous

Hi Vicki

I have great respect for your opinion concerning these matters.

Realistically though, what is the risk of a cow contracting BSE if she gets into chicken/poultry feed?

While we have always taken precautions to try to prevent it, there have been occasions when our cows have gotten into an area where they've had access to poultry feed (Kent Poultry 27). While the feed bag does not say not to feed it to rumininants, it also does not say that its "rumininant meat and bone meal free" and it does list animal fat/animal protein on the ingredient list.

Up until this point, we've tried to keep the cattle out of it only because we were worried about digestive upsets from the very finely ground feed. After this thread came up though, I've rearranged everything so that there is NO chance they can get to it.

And now my concern is whether there is a possiblity that they've already contract it. We're talking about 2 Jersey milk cows and a Red Angus cross heifer, as well as a Black Angus butcher heifer. Is there a test that can be done on the LIVE animal, or do they have to make diagnosis by necropsy?

Thanks Vicki, and have a great day

Ann B

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Anonymous

Ok, I don't live in Britain, so I'm going on published data, not personal experience.....

BSE is transmitted by a bovine eating infected material--namely a prion--which originated in a sheep with scrapie. (if I'm wrong, please correct!!) The meal from this sheep, when fed to the cow COULD, not WOULD infect the cow. There is a 3+ year incubation period (thus eating animals less than 30 months of age should not be able to be infective to humans) I do not know the odds of this feed infecting the cow, but the theory I read was that only 1 in 1000 or less would get infected on the same contaminated feed on average(number of feedings was not named). So, if your chicken is contaminated with the prion, you have less than .1% chance that each individual animal would be infective. The two paths to take from there are either to keep any and all cattle from eating chicken feed, or only have chicken feed without animal protein or fat...

There is no ability to diagnose in a living animal. A presumptive diagnosis based on clinical signs would be followed by a definitive diagnosis based on histology etc of the deceased animal's brain.....

Did I clarify or muddy the answer? V
 
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Anonymous

Hi Vicki

The following, copied directly from <A HREF="http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/report/volume1/execsum4.htm#669611" TARGET="_blank">http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/report/volume1/execsum4.htm#669611</A>, forming part of the UK Parliament's BSE Enquiry (published October 2000) addresses the scrapies issue and denies a link. This is the only part of the report I've read.

John McCrosson (novice Scottish farmer in Thailand)

Volume 1: Findings and Conclusions

Executive Summary of the Report of the Inquiry

3. The cause of BSE

· Gathering of data about the extent of the spread of BSE was impeded in the first half of 1987 by an embargo within the SVS on making information about the new disease public. This should not have occurred.

· By the end of 1987 Mr John Wilesmith, the Head of the CVL Epidemiology Department, had concluded that the cause of the reported cases of BSE was the consumption of meat and bone meal (MBM), which was made from animal carcasses and incorporated in cattle feed. This conclusion was correct. It had been reached with commendable speed.

· The following provisional conclusions of Mr Wilesmith, which were generally accepted at the time as a basis for action, were reasonable but fallacious:

- the cases identified between 1986 and 1988 were index (ie, first generation) cases of BSE;

- the source of infection in the MBM was tissues derived from sheep infected with conventional scrapie;

- the MBM had become infectious because rendering methods which had previously inactivated the conventional scrapie agent had been changed.

· The cases of BSE identified between 1986 and 1988 were not index cases, nor were they the result of the transmission of scrapie. They were the consequences of recycling of cattle infected with BSE itself. The BSE agent was spread in MBM.

· BSE probably originated from a novel source early in the 1970s, possibly a cow or other animal that developed disease as a consequence of a gene mutation. The origin of the disease will probably never be known with certainty.

· The theory that BSE resulted from changes in rendering methods has no validity. Rendering methods have never been capable of completely inactivating TSEs.

· The theory that BSE is caused by the application to cattle of organophosphorus pesticides is not viable, although there is a possibility that these can increase the susceptibility of cattle to BSE.

· The theory that BSE is caused by an autoimmune reaction is not viable.



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Anonymous

> I stand by my agreement with the
> procedures taken by Ag Canada and
> the feds. Without traceback, our
> export market will be sunk. I have
> wondered if the cow was actually
> infected with CWD instead of BSE,
> but histologically there are
> apparently differences which can
> differentiate the two, thus the
> positive identification of BSE
> from Britain being pivotal in the
> announcement of BSE instead of the
> first documented cattle infection
> with CWD.

> And it wouldn't be ground up
> positive cattle being fed to
> chickens to cause her to become
> infected if she ate chicken feed,
> it would have been ground up sheep
> skulls infected with scrapie, same
> as it started in Britain. (unless
> you know of a different cause of
> the outbreak than that....)

> V I have been unable to find a source that discusses histological proof that CWD and the Canadian BSE suspect are positively different. John M. noted scrape not the source of BSE. Mutation does look promising, if it is a mutation, it may have been with us for centuries and only became asignificant problem because of feeding practices.

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Anonymous

Appreciate very much your discussion of BSE and for the most part you are doing a great job.

The area of your discussion that is wrong is a very delicate part of the discussion but a very important part.

All BSE and vCJD discussion is pure conjecture. There has been NO definitive proof that BSE is contracted through feed and even less circumstantal evidence that vCJD is contracted by eating beef or even spine, brain and associated tissues.

While these THEORIES are the dominant theories of the majority, they leave a lot to be desired. My point is that as responsible beef producers, it is important that we be very careful to present this type of information as theory rather than fact.

Even after all this time, these theories have yet to be proven. Some of the latest research questions the inate validity of these theories.
 
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Anonymous

CJD occurs in humans, spontaneously at the rate of 1 per million. What if BSE occurs naturally in cows, the same way and in the same rate? It could have always been around, but in such small quantities, no one noticed. Maybe the feeding practices just served as a huge amplifier to a previously insignificant problem.
 
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Anonymous

> Appreciate very much your
> discussion of BSE and for the most
> part you are doing a great job.

> The area of your discussion that
> is wrong is a very delicate part
> of the discussion but a very
> important part.

> All BSE and vCJD discussion is
> pure conjecture. There has been NO
> definitive proof that BSE is
> contracted through feed and even
> less circumstantal evidence that
> vCJD is contracted by eating beef
> or even spine, brain and
> associated tissues.

> While these THEORIES are the
> dominant theories of the majority,
> they leave a lot to be desired. My
> point is that as responsible beef
> producers, it is important that we
> be very careful to present this
> type of information as theory
> rather than fact.

> Even after all this time, these
> theories have yet to be proven.
> Some of the latest research
> questions the inate validity of
> these theories. You are right, its all theory until proven. Lets follow the trail of facts. 180000 positive BSE tests from British cows. 132 human cases of vCJD, almost all British citizens. European Bse cases outside of Britian primarily British exports or consumed British meat and bone meal. Human vCJD outside of Britian only in countries that were importing beef from Britian. Human vCJD began showing up 3 or 4 years after flail-type mechanical deboners went into use in early 1990's. Those mechanical deboned products are high in nerve tissue(this process is used in U.S. as well). In mid 90's bovine byproducts were being shipped to other European countries for use in poultry feeds. In late 90's, Italian ingredient companies were indicted for selling British meat and bonemeal to Japan and calling it Italian origin, Japan was feeding this "safe" bovine product to their cows. In 2001, Japan found BSE positive cows just as predicted 4 years earlier. In Britian, after control efforts removed the BSE cattle from the food chain, the number of vCJD cases dropped to near 0 on schedule. None of the facts have been proven to be related, but would you bet they aren't?



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