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Cattle crossing divides industry

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HAY MAKER

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Cattle crossing divides industry
Jasons Smith and Mike McCormick

The U.S./Canada border was set to reopen for live cattle trade Monday but a federal judge in Montana has postponed the action. The Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull granted the temporary injunction Wednesday, based on a U.S. livestock group's concerns about mad cow disease.

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America), based in Billings, Mont., said the United States Department of Agriculture's plan to reopen the border would pose a risk, both to consumers and United States cattle producers. Canada's border has been closed to the United States since 2003, when Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, was discovered in some of the country's cattle.

Since the USDA's Final Rule to reopen trade, issued Dec. 29, 2004, two new cases of BSE were discovered in Canada -- the latest on Jan. 11. A spokesman with R-CALF USA told the News-Star Thursday that a total of four new cases have been found in the past 21 months.

The U.S. Senate mirrored Cebull's decision, passing Senate Joint Resolution 4 Thursday to prohibit the reopening of the border. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., offered a press release regarding the 52-46 decision, formally rejecting the USDA's plan:

"We cannot afford to reopen the border at this time as there are simply too many unresolved issues vital not only to Oklahoma, but to our entire nation."

Inhofe went on to say that opening trade with Canada is important, both at the state and national levels, but it is "something that we should phase in over time and not rush into."

Dave Frederickson, president of the National Farmers Union, said in a press release Thursday that he applauds the United States Senate because the "action is necessary to prevent the USDA from plowing ahead prematurely."

In a statement issued by the USDA on Dec. 30, 2004, Dr. Ron DeHaven, administrator of the Animal & Plant Inspection Service, said "the USDA is confident that the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place to prevent BSE, combined with existing United States domestic safeguards and additional safeguards announced (Dec. 29, 2004) provide the utmost protections to United States consumers and livestock."

DeHaven went on to say Canada found, on Dec. 29, a suspect animal, and, "if this animal proves to be positive, it would not alter the implementation of the United States rule announced (Dec. 29, 2004) that recognizes Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region."

Concerning Cebull's temporary injunction Wednesday, Oklahoma Farmers Union President and CEO Ray L. Wulf said his organization is pleased.

"We have always felt we first need to regain our export markets before allowing more imports into the United States, which would have a negative impact on prices our producers receive for their cattle at the farm gate," Wulf said.

"We also continue to be very concerned that Canada has not been able to adequately stop the outbreak of BSE in their country," Wulf added, "as evidenced by the fourth case discovered in January of this year. We do not want to water down the safety guidelines that have been in place and have, to date, protected the United States beef supply."

Opinions differ

Opinions differ on the issue of the USDA's decision to reopen live cattle trade with Canada, concerning both the health-related and price-related elements. Bill Rosser, manager of Wheeler Brothers Feedlot in Watonga, is quoted in an AP article earlier this week as saying the border should be opened.

"Personally, in the short-term, the border being shut is a benefit to whoever owns cattle," Rosser said. "I own cattle. But long-term, I think it is detrimental to the industry. I would rather look at the big picture."

Rosser also said that his opinion may be wrong, but "that is how I see it."

Joe Benton, extension educator with the Pottawatomie County OSU Cooperative Extension Service, said he believes the USDA has taken into consideration the risks involved, and there is a demand in the United States for beef products.

"The USDA made their decision for a reason, and we rely on them to provide us with a safe product," Benton said. "And there are always extenuating circumstances that will cause someone to stand on one side or the other of a particular issue. All we can do is rely on the ones in these positions, and expect them to do what is right for the public."

Another local source, familiar with the commodity markets, believes the decision to prevent live cattle from being brought into the United States from Canada will keep prices high.

"We have already seen a disruption in the market since the judge's decision, and that was made on Wednesday," the source said on condition of anonymity. "Of course the large packers, like Tyson and Smithville, are upset about this," he added, noting he has heard that some production lines might be shut down since there will not be the influx of cattle coming that was anticipated.

The source went on to point out that when he was raising cattle, there were about 135 million head in the United States Today, he said, that number is about 95 million.

"When the Canadian border was closed two years ago (in May 2003), it disrupted the market then as well," he said.

The source explained that it is live cattle that are prevented from being brought into the United States from Canada.

"Some of the packers who have Canadian plants are enjoying the prices here," he said, "because beef from cattle that are slaughtered in Canada can be shipped across the border."

Dr. Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian and president of the Missouri Stockgrowers Association, agrees with others that the USDA is rushing to reopen the border. He disagrees with the USDA's insistence that the period since trade was shut down has been enough to ensure an absence of BSE-infected animals, and as an affiliate with R-CALF USA is glad for the injunction put forth by Judge Cebull.

"The prions that cause BSE are basically indestructible," Thornsberry said. "Research has determined that prions buried for three years are still capable of causing disease when injected into laboratory animals. Cattle with BSE shed these prions in their feces, urine, nasal discharges, saliva and reproductive discharges, and these can easily contaminate soil in paddocks, lots, feeding pens and pastures."

With the incubation period of the disease being as slow as it is, Thornsberry believes there is still a high possibility of infected animals that have not yet become symptomatic. He believes these animals, if brought across the border, could pose a health risk to other livestock, and consumers.

According to a news release by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Feb. 11, it is "not likely that the (1997) feed ban was immediately adopted uniformly across the feed industry" and "the detection of an affected animal born after the feed ban was not unexpected".

The ban was put in place to eliminate the use of bovine meat and bone meal as feed for cattle -- feed that contains SRM's (specified risk materials). These are materials, including brain and spinal tissue and tongues, that are potentially BSE-positive. The CFIA news release said these prohibited materials would have been purged from the ruminant feed system as new operating processes were implemented and refined.

Thornsberry said that during this process, it is likely that BSE-positive materials lingered and found their way into non-infected animals.

He added that he is not against reopening the U.S./Canada border for cattle trade -- he just hopes the timing is right, and the preliminary injunction set forth by Cebull could allow for just that.

"Dr. Stanley Pruisner with the University of California in San Francisco was the first to discover BSE," Thornsberry said. "And he believes that within the next year or so he will have developed a blood test for live animals that will determine if they are infected or not."

The current method of determining whether or not an animal has the disease is to test samples of brain tissue after the animal has been slaughtered or destroyed.

"Knowing this, the USDA should not be willing to accept a minimal risk trade as they have said they will do," Thornsberry said. "When this test is available, it would become a zero risk trade."

Thornsberry went on to tell the News-Star that the test, once available, would probably cost no more than $20 per head.

"The USDA presented politically-based facts, while R-CALF USA presented scientifically-based facts," Thornsberry said of the organization's efforts to have the reopening postponed. "Thank goodness science won."
 

Big Muddy rancher

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""The USDA presented politically-based facts, while R-CALF USA presented scientifically-based facts," Thornsberry said of the organization's efforts to have the reopening postponed. "Thank goodness science won."

What a joke. :roll: :cowboy:
 

Tam

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Cattle with BSE shed these prions in their feces, urine, nasal discharges, saliva and reproductive discharges, and these can easily contaminate soil in paddocks, lots, feeding pens and pastures."

If this is true then why are the 4000 dairy cattle that cohabitated with the Washington cow still alive. why didn't the US industry force the disposal of these animals and any other animal that may have been in contact with the Washington cow. They surely got a little infected pee or poop on them or maybe even a little nasal discharge. They are just walking time bombs aren't they. Science has said BSE is not contagious between cattle but if this statement that this vet made is true then the science the rest of us look at has been lieing to us. As if this is true then tell me why in most cases of BSE, even in the UK, when a case is found their is a very low occurence of a second case in the same herd. Wouldn't it be true that if this was true the first infected cow would have infected the rest the herd with their Feces and urine and nasal discharge for years. How can the UK be raising cattle in any paddock feedlot or pasture in the UK and still be seeing a decrease in cases.
 

Mike

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Tam said:
Cattle with BSE shed these prions in their feces, urine, nasal discharges, saliva and reproductive discharges, and these can easily contaminate soil in paddocks, lots, feeding pens and pastures."

If this is true then why are the 4000 dairy cattle that cohabitated with the Washington cow still alive. why didn't the US industry force the disposal of these animals and any other animal that may have been in contact with the Washington cow. They surely got a little infected pee or poop on them or maybe even a little nasal discharge. They are just walking time bombs aren't they. Science has said BSE is not contagious between cattle but if this statement that this vet made is true then the science the rest of us look at has been lieing to us. As if this is true then tell me why in most cases of BSE, even in the UK, when a case is found their is a very low occurence of a second case in the same herd. Wouldn't it be true that if this was true the first infected cow would have infected the rest the herd with their Feces and urine and nasal discharge for years. How can the UK be raising cattle in any paddock feedlot or pasture in the UK and still be seeing a decrease in cases.

Tam, they have been testing all cohorts for years. Why? Cross contamination.
All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all. I have the exact number bookmarked on my other computer in my office if you would like that link tommorow.
This is what I've been trying to tell you it's all about "Political Science"!
When an animal in the UK was found they killed the whole herd. Over 3 million animals killed and tested with 180,000 positives.
 
A

Anonymous

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Mike: "Tam, they have been testing all cohorts for years. Why? Cross contamination."

Mike: "All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all."


How many of those animals tested positive for BSE from "cross contamination"????



~SH~
 

Mike

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~SH~ said:
Mike: "Tam, they have been testing all cohorts for years. Why? Cross contamination."

Mike: "All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all."


How many of those animals tested positive for BSE from "cross contamination"????
~SH~

None. But do you think they tested them for no reason?
 

mwj

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Everyone seems an expert on the washington state cow, would one of you care to provide ANY PROOF that they found the herdmates that crossed the border with her! The last info that I heard indicate there were several that were never found.
 

Tam

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Mike said:
Tam said:
Cattle with BSE shed these prions in their feces, urine, nasal discharges, saliva and reproductive discharges, and these can easily contaminate soil in paddocks, lots, feeding pens and pastures."

If this is true then why are the 4000 dairy cattle that cohabitated with the Washington cow still alive. why didn't the US industry force the disposal of these animals and any other animal that may have been in contact with the Washington cow. They surely got a little infected pee or poop on them or maybe even a little nasal discharge. They are just walking time bombs aren't they. Science has said BSE is not contagious between cattle but if this statement that this vet made is true then the science the rest of us look at has been lieing to us. As if this is true then tell me why in most cases of BSE, even in the UK, when a case is found their is a very low occurence of a second case in the same herd. Wouldn't it be true that if this was true the first infected cow would have infected the rest the herd with their Feces and urine and nasal discharge for years. How can the UK be raising cattle in any paddock feedlot or pasture in the UK and still be seeing a decrease in cases.

Tam, they have been testing all cohorts for years. Why? Cross contamination.
All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all. I have the exact number bookmarked on my other computer in my office if you would like that link tommorow.
This is what I've been trying to tell you it's all about "Political Science"!
When an animal in the UK was found they killed the whole herd. Over 3 million animals killed and tested with 180,000 positives.

You say
All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all.

The dairy was a 4000hd dairy and this is what was on the APHIS BSE update

Depopulation Activities

USDA has conducted selective depopulation activities at these facilities. All animals were humanely transported and euthanized following American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines. In addition, all adult animals were sampled and tested for BSE. The bull calves depopulated at Sunnyside, WA, were not sampled because they were too young for the BSE agent to be detected. The following is a breakdown of the selective depopulations:

• Sunnyside, WA (bull calf premises) - a total of 449 animals depopulated
• Mabton, WA (index premises) - a total of 131 animals depopulated
• Mattawa, WA - a total of 39 animals depopulated
• Connell, WA - a total of 15 animals depopulated
• Boardman, OR - a total of 20 animals depopulated
• Quincy, WA - a total of 18 animals depopulated
• Tenino, WA - a total of 4 animals depopulated
• Moxee, WA – a total of 15 animals depopulated
• Othello, WA – a total of 3 animals depopulated.
• Burley, ID – a total of 7 animals depopulated
• Mabton, WA (second premises) – a total of 3 animals depopulated

Testing Activities

There have been a total of 255 samples taken from the animals depopulated in the Mabton index herd, the herds in Mattawa, Connell, Quincy, Tenino, Moxee, Othello, and the second Mabton facility, as well as facilities in Boardman, OR, and Burley, ID. All samples have tested negative for BSE.

Notice where it said "USDA has conducted selective depopulation activities at these facilities"Again the Dairy in Mabton was 4000 hd alone and their were nine other dairies where cattle were pulled from and tested, to make up the 255 samples .
 

Tam

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mwj said:
Everyone seems an expert on the washington state cow, would one of you care to provide ANY PROOF that they found the herdmates that crossed the border with her! The last info that I heard indicate there were several that were never found.

Does this answer your question This is from the Last update posted on APHIS which was dated after the International subcommittee report was recieved by the USDA that told them to "redirect their efforts into planning implementation and enforcement of an extended targeted surveillance programme and other measures to protect human and animal health."

USDA has focused on 25 of the 81 animals also born into the birth herd of the index animal. Based on normal culling practices of local dairies, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service estimated that the Agency would be able to locate approximately 11 of these animals. APHIS has definitively located 14 of these animals.

These 14 animals definitively located are part of the group of 81 that originally entered from Canada. In addition to these 14 animals of significant interest, APHIS also has located 15 other animals that entered with the group of 81. This makes a total of 29 of the 81 animals that have been located. A breakdown follows:

• 1 of the 81 is the BSE-positive cow and was located in the Index herd in Mabton, WA.
• 9 of the 81 were located in the Index herd in Mabton, Washington.
• 3 were located at a facility in Tenino, WA.
• 6 were located at a facility in Connell, WA.
• 1 was located at a facility in Quincy, WA.
• 3 were located at a facility in Mattawa, WA.
• 1 was located at a facility in Moxee, WA.
• 3 were located at a facility in Burley, ID.
• 1 was located at a facility in Othello, WA.
• 1 was located at a facility in Mabton, WA.

There are no premises under hold orders related to BSE.
 

Tam

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Mike said:
Tam said:
Cattle with BSE shed these prions in their feces, urine, nasal discharges, saliva and reproductive discharges, and these can easily contaminate soil in paddocks, lots, feeding pens and pastures."

If this is true then why are the 4000 dairy cattle that cohabitated with the Washington cow still alive. why didn't the US industry force the disposal of these animals and any other animal that may have been in contact with the Washington cow. They surely got a little infected pee or poop on them or maybe even a little nasal discharge. They are just walking time bombs aren't they. Science has said BSE is not contagious between cattle but if this statement that this vet made is true then the science the rest of us look at has been lieing to us. As if this is true then tell me why in most cases of BSE, even in the UK, when a case is found their is a very low occurence of a second case in the same herd. Wouldn't it be true that if this was true the first infected cow would have infected the rest the herd with their Feces and urine and nasal discharge for years. How can the UK be raising cattle in any paddock feedlot or pasture in the UK and still be seeing a decrease in cases.

Tam, they have been testing all cohorts for years. Why? Cross contamination.
All the cohorts of the Washington cow were killed and tested. I believe it was about 2000 animals in all. I have the exact number bookmarked on my other computer in my office if you would like that link tommorow.
This is what I've been trying to tell you it's all about "Political Science"!
When an animal in the UK was found they killed the whole herd. Over 3 million animals killed and tested with 180,000 positives.

Mike you said you had the exact number bookmarked at the office and you would post it tommorrow. That was two days ago. Were your number different from mine or weren't they. I would like to know just how many were tested from the Washington investigation.
 

PPRM

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I sold some equipment to the USDA for the Washington Dairy thing. There was some depopulation done and none of the herdmates tested positive,
 

mwj

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Tam
Thanks for the info, that is the last set of figures I found as well. Some one is going to get pissy with r-calfs tactics one of these days and start pushing these figures back in front of the public!!!! The beef industry will take a blow that will be very hard to recover from. R-calf has set the tone when they started the tactic of the enemy of my enemy is my friend :mad: Would the pork and poultry industries love to see this happen. If they had a group like r-calf to stir the pot on beef safety we are doomed on both sides of the border.
 

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