Alabama's mad cow case spurs concerns

| Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When mad cow or bird flu cases or investigations hit the news, consumers are cautious and with good reason. Both diseases can be harmful or deadly to humans.

They can also be harmful or deadly to the trucking industry, which moves livestock and poultry every day, whether domestic, imported or exported.

It remains to be seen whether the latest mad cow scare unfolding in Alabama will lead to paranoia among countries that import U.S. beef.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to investigate how a 10-year old cow in Alabama contracted mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

Industry stakeholders are watching closely. There have been only two other suspected cases of mad cow on U.S. soil, and one of those was in a cow that was born in Canada.

Canada has had a couple of mad cow scares of its own in the past few years and beef bans have come and gone in export markets.

So far, no people have died from the disease in North America.

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