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Interesting Canadian Editorial

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Anonymous

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Mad cow again! Action needed now
Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006
Dear Stephen,

I know you were busy Monday, winning an election and all. But there's an important matter I want to bring to your prime ministerial attention. If you want to do Alberta beef producers and Alberta beef consumers a big favour, start by putting a comprehensive mad cow prevention policy at the top of your national "to do" list.

On Monday, while Canadians went to the polls, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced another cow had tested positive for BSE: bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Our latest mad cow was a 69-month-old breeding heifer, a Holstein-Hereford cross, from somewhere in north-central Alberta. That's the fifth infected Canadian-born cow that's turned up, and the fifth born and raised in this general area.

Given how many, many more cattle we test for BSE these days, it was only to be expected that we would find a few more sick animals. Back before we found our first mad cow in June of 2003, Alberta was only testing 150 to 200 specimens a year. Last year, Canada tested 57,766 cattle. Of those 30,536, or 53 per cent, were from Alberta. All were high-risk animals from the so-called 4D group: dead, distressed, diseased or downers.

With that massive increase in surveillance, finding one more positive sample should be no surprise. Indeed, it would scarcely be cause for alarm.

There's just one problem.

This particular cow was only six years old. She was born in April 2000, three years after Canada instituted the feed ban that was supposed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. That ban completely forbade the use of rendered cows, sheep, elk and other ruminants in cattle feed. The leading scientific thinking on BSE says that's how cows get prion disease -- by eating rendered protein from infected animals.

All the other sick cows we've found were either born before the ban or just after it came into effect.

So how did this heifer get infected? So far, no one knows.

It's a troubling question -- with even more troubling answers.

Are we to believe some farmer had contaminated three-year-old feed left over and that he fed it to his stock in defiance or ignorance of the law?

Or perhaps our existing national feed ban isn't stringent enough.

Back in 1997, when we instituted the feed ban, we naively believed that our national herd was actually BSE-free. The ban was only thought to be a precautionary measure. Now, we know we were wrong. We know our herd is infected, if only at a low level. Yet we've never toughened our feed ban to deal with that new reality.

We still allow feed mills to turn cattle, sheep and other ruminants into rations for swine and poultry. That leaves the possibility that cattle feed can be contaminated in two ways. Farmers could mix up feed on the farm. Or feed mills can cross-contaminate their product at the factory. Either way, it only takes a tiny speck of infected material -- .001 of a gram -- to make a cow fatally ill. That's why rendering just one diseased animal into food can lead to an exponential increase in infections.

In July 2004, Paul Martin's government announced it would improve Canada's feed ban. The CFIA unveiled plans to ban all dead and downer ruminants -- cattle, sheep, bison, elk, llamas and the like -- from all animal feed.

The new rules would still have allowed apparently healthy ruminants to be rendered for pig and poultry feed. However, renderers and feed mill operators would have been required to remove all the "specified risk materials" -- the parts of the cow most likely to contain prions, the infectious, protein-warping particles that cause BSE.

Those risky bits include all brain and spinal cord material, as well as eyeballs, tonsils and parts of the small intestine. We already ban them from beef meant for human consumption. Banning them from all animal feed would dramatically lower the risk of accidental cross-contamination.

Yet here we are in January 2006 and the new rules are still not in force.

Instead, we've had 18 months of "discussion" and "stakeholder consultations" and delicate federal-provincial negotiations. Meanwhile, who knows how much more feed could have been contaminated or how many more cows could have become infected?

Stephen, you say you're going to put Alberta's interests on the national agenda. Keeping Alberta's beef exports moving, breaking down the trade barriers that still remain is vital to our economy.

But we need national leadership to keep our herd healthy and to show our international trading partners we take BSE seriously.

True, a stricter feed ban will create major inconveniences and expenses for the rendering and feed industries, and for farmers. But the costs and consequences of not addressing the gaps in our feed rules are too great to ignore.

No one should panic over the discovery of one more sick cow. The surveillance system worked perfectly. The animal was quickly identified, tested and destroyed, and kept out of the human and animal food chain.

But if we shouldn't panic, neither should we shrug. This election-day announcement should be a wake-up call for our new prime minister. Mr. Harper, please cut through the red tape and give us an effective feed ban, one that keeps Canadian cattle, Canadian export markets and Canadian consumers safe.

[email protected]

© The Edmonton Journal 2006
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Trust you to find something like that OT. :roll: I bet they referred to you in school as being the special one :wink: . Why do you keep picking on the Canadian Beef Industry? Canada is not shut out of the Japanese market? Is the US able to ship any beef over there? Seems they trust us more than the US. I would think that has something to do with them not trusting R-calf. Cant trust any of you R-calf buggers.... you make me sick....
 

Bill

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Oldtimer..........the special one.. :oops: :oops: . Actually you are correct M_R the Japanese have it figured out despite R-Calf and those like Oldtimer and their continual brainfarts. They know which countries' system is working and credible. You know the other really neat thing Oldtimer? As ineffective you and others try to make Canada's feed ban out to be it is far more stringent than the US. :oops:

Oldtimer ........ the special one. :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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MR- Bill------In other words what the lady has stated is true-Eh?
 

fedup2

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I guess I must be a little slow myself because I don’t see where you found anything offensive about Oldtimer sharing information with this forum. Especially a news story from your own paper! I thought that is what this forum is for. To share information. The article tells me that you increased testing and want safer feed : “one that keeps Canadian cattle, Canadian export markets and Canadian consumers safe.

Why would you call a poster names and insult him for this?
Do you not want your cattle, export markets, and consumers safe?
What you guys are forgetting is that what is said on this forum does not change the price of your cattle one cent! If what was written on this forum had the power to change the cattle market, we could all be rich!
 

Bill

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Oldtimer said:
MR- Bill------In other words what the lady has stated is true-Eh?
Which is what? That Canada's feed ban is superior. That Canada has been more than uprfront through this whole mess to the extent that Japan trusts Canada ahead of the US who has reported ( :oops: :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink: :wink: :wink: ) one home grown case of BSE and doesn't plan on having anymore?

(I always get a kick out of Americans who try to use eh? when they really mean HUH?)
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Yes bout how many cases of BSE has the US covered up??? Japanese must figure our beef if safer... as for OT he deserves what he gets.
 

PPRM

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M_R,

I hope you have figured out by now I am not beholding to any group and am sincere in my comments......


Here it goes. I think it holds true for both countries. The harder we work to truely figure this BSE deal out and get it behind us, the better off both countries will be. As I read the article, I read it as something both countries need to seriously look at. WHY DID A COW BORN THREE YEARS AFTER THE FEEDBAN TEST POSITIVE? It may be niave, but I guess I tend to thnk what I have seen, most producers are pretty dang sincere in trying to comply with proper management techniques.

I think it has serious implications for both countries. Either there is potential feed contaminations OR we don't fully understand the ways this disease is spread. Either can result in a backlash of consumer confidence.

I guess I took this editorial as something that shows we all need to do more, Hiding our heads in the sand and hanging onto paradigms may very well put us in the same boat as England. I encourage you to reread the article as something from someone that cares rather than seeing it as being from someone with an R-Calf agenda,

PPRM
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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fedup2 said:
I guess I must be a little slow myself because I don’t see where you found anything offensive about Oldtimer sharing information with this forum. Especially a news story from your own paper!

Fedup, I must admit when I first saw that OT was the one posting it, my first thought was: how is he going to use this as ammunition in a 'keep the border closed' diatribe :lol:

But I do agree with what the lady is saying. I grow weary of the government caving into the packers and the feed mills when it comes to SRMs. Just a simple rule would suffice: Don't create feed from SRMs.

Rod
 
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PPRM said:
M_R,

I hope you have figured out by now I am not beholding to any group and am sincere in my comments......


Here it goes. I think it holds true for both countries. The harder we work to truely figure this BSE deal out and get it behind us, the better off both countries will be. As I read the article, I read it as something both countries need to seriously look at. WHY DID A COW BORN THREE YEARS AFTER THE FEEDBAN TEST POSITIVE? It may be niave, but I guess I tend to thnk what I have seen, most producers are pretty dang sincere in trying to comply with proper management techniques.

I think it has serious implications for both countries. Either there is potential feed contaminations OR we don't fully understand the ways this disease is spread. Either can result in a backlash of consumer confidence.

I guess I took this editorial as something that shows we all need to do more, Hiding our heads in the sand and hanging onto paradigms may very well put us in the same boat as England. I encourage you to reread the article as something from someone that cares rather than seeing it as being from someone with an R-Calf agenda,

PPRM

PPRM- I agree with you..I had also posted this article on cattletoday and added the following header to the article...Knowing how we have discussed this to a great extent on this site I didn't think it was necessary BUT some will see it only for what they want to see...

One thing that did surprise me was that the industry interests have been able to stonewall the Canadian safeguards too- I had thought from the Canadians postings on here that they had been implemented long ago :???: .....


"This is a long article-- but quite interesting...She could be saying the same about the lack of the US to close our feedban rules loopholes...Same reason in both countries- short term economic gain for a few corporate interests (dairy, rendering, poultry (Tyson) and Packers) outweighing long term herd and consumer safety.....Seems Canada didn't learn from Britain and Europe and the US is learning from none"......

 

Manitoba_Rancher

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and besides I like giving OT a hard time... If I didnt give him a hard time he would figure I was sick or something :shock: I think feedbans need to be very strict also in both countries get BSE behind us!
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Oldtimer said:
One thing that did surprise me was that the industry interests have been able to stonewall the Canadian safeguards too- I had thought from the Canadians postings on here that they had been implemented long ago :???: .....

Easy now. Additional safeguards have indeed been implemented over the years, however it's still not where it should be (IMHO). But it is moving ahead, and at a rate faster than many other countries are currently moving at (or have moved at for those who have stricter bans than we do)

Rod
 

Mrs.Greg

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The editorial brought up alot of valid points,I read this,this morning! The thing is as Albertans we are trusting the feed regulations are being followed! If it is possible the owner used old feed I hope he brings that to light.I'm almost thinking this isn't the case because from what I know he willingly called the vet.These feed regulations HAVE to be followed,in the interest and for the safety of all.Somtimes I get the idea from you Oldtimer you think we don't care and that its all about money...WRONG alot of my family and friends eat over the counter meat,I WANT IT TO BE SAFE!!!!! And I WANT our government to make sure its SAFE!!!!
 
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Mrs.Greg said:
The editorial brought up alot of valid points,I read this,this morning! The thing is as Albertans we are trusting the feed regulations are being followed! If it is possible the owner used old feed I hope he brings that to light.I'm almost thinking this isn't the case because from what I know he willingly called the vet.These feed regulations HAVE to be followed,in the interest and for the safety of all.Somtimes I get the idea from you Oldtimer you think we don't care and that its all about money...WRONG alot of my family and friends eat over the counter meat,I WANT IT TO BE SAFE!!!!! And I WANT our government to make sure its SAFE!!!!

Mrs. Greg- I believe most US and Canadian ranchers do care...Its the governments and the corporate interests that I feel don't care enough and/or are making risky decisions...The corporate worlds economics are dictating to the governments--they are more concerned with the short term economics then they are the long term safety...

I spent 30 years working with Public Safety and the old rule is if there is a question or a doubt, always err on the side of safety........

And it appears to me that there are a whole lot of unanswered questions...
 

Mrs.Greg

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Oldtimer....you are right it should be err on the right of safety!!.Unfortunatly I believe there are obviously some glitches somewhere but where I'm not sure is it the feed companys not following regulations or is it cattlemen using old feed {in this latest case}.I don't know but I do know it has hurt our business in the past and may in the future,I also know Greg and I are doing what we are being told to do.We do not nor ever have used boughten feed,ours is a cow -calf operation and our own hay and our own grain is what we use.?Its unfortunate but YES we need to find out how ,where ,why this is happening to cattle in our province! Greg says hes happy this last one showed up its shows what we're doing to detect it is working....I hope so!!!
 

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I posted to Oldtimer on the ''other'' board. The article is ''opinion'' as far as I am concerned and the lady is welcome to have hers. The first thing that I noticed was ''69 month old breeding HEIFER''. This caused me to raise an eyebrow. Later when she stated ''.001 grams of infected material will cause a cow to become fatally ill'', with nothing to back up her statement of a FACT I just treated like any other opinion piece. If you read the editorial pages you will find many opinion's that vary greatly on the same subject.
 

Maple Leaf Angus

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fedup2 said:
I guess I must be a little slow myself because I don’t see where you found anything offensive about Oldtimer sharing information with this forum. Especially a news story from your own paper! I thought that is what this forum is for. To share information. The article tells me that you increased testing and want safer feed : “one that keeps Canadian cattle, Canadian export markets and Canadian consumers safe.

Why would you call a poster names and insult him for this?
Do you not want your cattle, export markets, and consumers safe?
What you guys are forgetting is that what is said on this forum does not change the price of your cattle one cent! If what was written on this forum had the power to change the cattle market, we could all be rich!

You know, Fedup2, you are completely correct in what you said. There was little reason in the article itself (other than some unsupportable claims as some have pointed out) for anyone to respond negatively to the posting.

Except for one thing - the one who did the posting.


If a Canadian makes critical remarks about an American or American policy or actions, he or she is immediately labelled as anti-American, ungrateful, hateful, liberal and a whole bunch of other well-developed "negatives". They are told to go back to their corner and shut up and be grateful. Don't drag any perceived American short-comings out for public examination.

But there is one on this forum who delights in constantly digging up whatever information he can find and using it to cast Canadians in a less than desirable light. Kind of like throwing s*** and seeing what sticks. And after a while, it gets really tiresome, just like Americans rightly tire of the seemingly universal criticism they encounter.

I know we should just consider who is doing it and ignore it. Most of the time I do. If Oldtimer makes a posting or reply, I often do not bother reading it as I know what it will be without looking at it.

When I do read his garbage, I am reminded of why I should not bother with it.

So, when he posts on here and people respond to his stuff in ways that seem out of line, remember how you Americans feel when someone constantly rubs your faces in the dirt.

It does get old after a while.
 
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mwj said:
I posted to Oldtimer on the ''other'' board. The article is ''opinion'' as far as I am concerned and the lady is welcome to have hers. The first thing that I noticed was ''69 month old breeding HEIFER''. This caused me to raise an eyebrow. Later when she stated ''.001 grams of infected material will cause a cow to become fatally ill'', with nothing to back up her statement of a FACT I just treated like any other opinion piece. If you read the editorial pages you will find many opinion's that vary greatly on the same subject.

Definitely is her opinion- but its interesting that her opinion on the feed ban loopholes is the same one being reached by many scientists now, promoted by the cattlemans group R-CALF and their scientists, and even endorsed by the major beef user McDonalds....

As far as the amount of material to infect- I have seen this number used before in some scientific publications...Altho I will agree that the amount is still open to a great amount of scientific debate...

But she does raise some interesting questions--How did a cow born 3 years after the feedban become infected?
And why have these more stringent BSE safeguards, that were recommended by even many of the government scientists, been stonewalled and not implemented in both countries?

Is the US and Canadian governments really responding to the safety of consumers and the protection of herd health-OR- are they only responding to the lobbying dollars of the Corporate World?
 

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Oldtimer said:
mwj said:
I posted to Oldtimer on the ''other'' board. The article is ''opinion'' as far as I am concerned and the lady is welcome to have hers. The first thing that I noticed was ''69 month old breeding HEIFER''. This caused me to raise an eyebrow. Later when she stated ''.001 grams of infected material will cause a cow to become fatally ill'', with nothing to back up her statement of a FACT I just treated like any other opinion piece. If you read the editorial pages you will find many opinion's that vary greatly on the same subject.

Definitely is her opinion- but its interesting that her opinion on the feed ban loopholes is the same one being reached by many scientists now, promoted by the cattlemans group R-CALF and their scientists, and even endorsed by the major beef user McDonalds....

As far as the amount of material to infect- I have seen this number used before in some scientific publications...Altho I will agree that the amount is still open to a great amount of scientific debate...

But she does raise some interesting questions--How did a cow born 3 years after the feedban become infected?
And why have these more stringent BSE safeguards, that were recommended by even many of the government scientists, been stonewalled and not implemented in both countries?

Is the US and Canadian governments really responding to the safety of consumers and the protection of herd health-OR- are they only responding to the lobbying dollars of the Corporate World?
Oldtimer I am starting to think you have more fairy tales than the brothers Grimm.

How do you make the connection from McDonalds about the US and it's feed ban (which said nothing about Canada) to this article written about Canada. Oh one and one other little thing. R-Calf..........and their SCIENTISTS........? :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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Bill- If you and Maple Leaf Angus don't see it I can't help you...I think many Canadian ranchers are still in the denial stage- BUT apparently Paula Simons editorial writer can see the holes and unanswered questions--what about the John Doe Canadian citizens and consumers :???: ...If she can figure out there is a problem they can too....

I brought in McDonalds because some of these loopholes that she says the Canadian government has stonewalled on are the same ones that McDonalds said in the letter to the FDA needed to be closed in the US...
 

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