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US wants downer ban lifted

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Feb 10, 2005
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Southern Manitoba
Officials endorse North American response to mad cow

WASHINGTON, Apr 06, 2005 (Watertown Daily Times - Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News via COMTEX) -- Health officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico last week endorsed a North American response to mad cow disease that calls into question two U.S. measures that affect the dairy industry.

The officials, who gathered in March to draft a mad cow disease response for North America, suggested that the importation of live cattle be expanded to include animals for breeding, provided they were born after a ban on feeding ruminant-based rations back to cattle was implemented in the 1990s.

They also acknowledged that the United States' ban on the slaughter of all disabled cattle for human consumption may go too far because some animals in that category are not at risk for mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The recommendations will not necessarily affect any of the three countries' regulations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a press release. But the guidelines are meant to steer the United States, Canada and Mexico toward a consistent policy across the continent, the department said.

Mad cow disease is a fatal, brain-wasting illness that can spread from cattle to humans who eat parts of an infected animal.

The officials -- chief veterinarians from each nation -- said "alternative measures may provide equivalent protection against BSE." A very young animal, such as a veal calf, that is disabled is not likely to be infected with BSE, they said. The disease typically does not show up in cattle younger than 30 months. In addition, they said, older animals may be injured during transport and not show signs of mad cow disease.

The downer ban has generated complaints in the dairy industry because of farmers' limited choices for disposing of the animals, which used to be a source of income. Slaughterhouses and rendering plants do not generally accept them, farm experts say, so farmers are left to dispose of them on the farm.

In Europe and Japan, the veterinarians noted, disabled cattle that test negative for BSE are allowed into the human food supply.

The report also indicated a wider acceptance of cattle for import, including breeding cattle. The dairy industry once relied on Canada as a source for replacement dairy heifers, but the federal government has banned those imports and gives no sign of changing the policy, even for animals younger than 30 months.

Health officials said the import of breeder cattle should be allowed for animals born after the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban and only for those animals that can be traced to specific herds in their past.

The USDA has been repeatedly rebuffed in its efforts to reopen the Canadian border to cattle and beef imports. Opponents of reopening trade have succeeded in asking a federal court to block the proposal.

The U.S. Cattlemen's Beef Association, which supports resumed trade, did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the announcement.

In a press release, the USDA said the report's recommendations "will be considered by the appropriate animal health and public health officials in each country through their respective regulatory processes."
Downer's in the slaughter house with the ruling that each one has to pass a BSE western blot test.I think the Japanese would buy them tested BSE critters even for burger.
Who's and which test do you use? The one the USA uses that finds one amino/acid sequence; or another, like the one Canada, Europe and Japan uses that finds 15 sequences??

How long do think it will be before there is a live blood test approved for use?
Prionics WESTERN BLOT has no false Positives ever recorded and that is what we need to USE here.********How long do think it will be before there is a live blood test approved for use?The German live test is avaiable now for Country testing and the Japanse live any age test is getting ready by the end of June from all reports that I have seen.Better investment then oil stocks.
My Opinion-

Just because they aren't bse positive doesn't mean we should be slaughtering them,

I would say it depend on what you are calling a "downer". A young steer that breaks its leg on the truck is different then an animal that was a downer before it was winched on the truck. I would eat the first one any time but would never want to eat the second one.
I'd eat the first one or split it amoung people working for me, but not sell it


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