- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

TORONTO (AP) — A 6-year-old cow from an Alberta farm has tested positive for mad cow disease, officials said yesterday.

Brian Evans, Canada’s chief veterinary officer, said the affected animal had not entered the human food or animal-feed systems.

The announcement came after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesman, Mark Van Dusen, said Sunday that officials were testing a “suspicious sample.”

Mad cow disease is the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a degenerative cattle nerve illness linked to the rare and fatal human nerve disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Canadian ranchers were hit hard after the United States banned cattle imports from its northern neighbor in May 2003 following the country’s first case of mad cow disease. The U.S. border reopened to young Canadian cattle in July.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said yesterday that the United States will not cut off cattle shipments from Canada.

“I anticipate no change in the status of beef or live cattle imports to the U.S. from Canada under our established agreement,” Mr. Johanns said.

“I am confident in the safety of beef and in the safeguards we and our approved beef trading partners have in place to protect our food supply.”

Industry officials said the cow’s age meant it could have contracted the disease by eating feed left over after a 1997 ban on the use of cattle parts in feed.

Mr. Evans said a broad and extensive investigation was under way.

He said the experiences of other countries show that very small amounts of feed purchased before the ban may have been retained on farms and lead to infection many years later.

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