Mad cow disease takes five in Canada

| 4/18/2006

Canada is dealing with another isolated case of mad cow disease.

For the fifth time since May 2003, a Canadian cow has tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, commonly referred to as mad cow.

A U.S. ban on Canadian beef lasted until 2005, when the two countries re-opened trade for animals older than 30 months.

Canada initiated a program that has tested more than 100,000 animals. Officials believe the latest case in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia is isolated, tracing back to before strict feed restrictions were imposed in 1997.

The disease is transmitted through the brains and spinal cords of affected animals that can re-enter the food chain. Feeding restrictions prohibit brains and spinal cords from re-entering cattle food chains.

A movement by cattlemen’s associations to re-open trade for animals younger than 30 months will be delayed until the current investigation is completed, CTV News reported.

Great Britain has had several mad cow scares and even some human deaths blamed on the disease.