BSE-Infected Beef Cow Found in Alberta

(file photo)
(file photo)

Editor’s note: There is an updated story on this news here. In it, John Masswohl of the CCA remarks on whether or not this finding will significantly impact trade. As of late Friday, February 13, the age of the cow was not released publicly, but the location was — northern Alberta. As of Sunday, February 15th, the CFIA says South Korea has suspended imports of Canadian beef, pending further information on the new BSE find.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed Canada’s first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) since 2011 in a beef cow from Alberta.

In a statement emailed to late Thursday, the CFIA said the case was detected through the national BSE surveillance program. An investigation has been launched seeking to confirm the age of the animal, its history and how it became infected. The agency is also looking for information on the feed the animal consumed during the first year of its life. No part of the animal’s carcass entered the human food or animal feed systems.

From a trade standpoint, Canada remains a “controlled risk” country, as recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health, so the agency says it should not affect current exports of cattle or beef. The discovery could delay Canada’s move from “controlled” to “negligible” risk, depending on the age of the animal.

The CFIA says it will conduct a “trace out” to find animals of equivalent risk. These animals will be ordered destroyed and tested for BSE.

There is currently no way to accurately test for the fatal neurological disease in live animals, so testing is done on the brains of deceased animals. The national BSE surveillance program has a mandated testing target of 30 thousand head annually.

The Canadian cattle sector was devastated following the discovery of the first domestic case of BSE in Alberta in 2003, as export markets closed their borders to Canadian beef and cattle. Canada’s most recent case of BSE was in 2011 in a dairy cow in Alberta.

A tweet from John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association:

Related: BSE 10 Years Later — Perspective, Perseverance and Prices

4 thoughts on “BSE-Infected Beef Cow Found in Alberta

  1. It seems to me that everytime the cattle industry is doing well, something like B.S.E. comes along to bring the prices back down to levels that the U.S. can tolerate again. I might be suspicious but think about it. Who was the owner of the first B.S.E. case?

  2. I just heard an interview about this on the radio, that will do the beef industry no favors. It said the animal in question is from the exact same farm where the last infected animal had been found.

    It was speculated that this second animal was from the same herd as the first one that was found, or that the feed source had been used again, maybe even a very small amount of feed from a bin that hadn’t been totally emptied.

    My first questions were why wouldn’t the whole herd have been either disposed of, or even sold into slaughter. Why wouldn’t it be logical that a 2nd animal could be in that herd?

    Along the same lines, why wouldn’t the feed source had been disposed of, and the bins completely sterilized or even destroyed?

    The tone of the interview was that there had been a very casual approach to the handling of the previous incident, didn’t leave me much confidence that it was being treated seriously.

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.