HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mad Cow Disease - Here Again

The Associated Press reports on the Agriculture Department's disclosure that an Alabama cow tested positive for mad cow disease.   On the upside, the AP states,

The cow did not enter the food supply for people or animals, officials said. The animal, unable to walk, was killed by a local veterinarian and buried on the farm.

"We remain very confident in the safety of U.S. beef," said the department's chief veterinarian, John Clifford. . . .

Federal and state investigators are working to determine the cow's age, where it was born and raised and locate its herdmates and offspring. Sparks said there are no suspect animals on the farm.

Clifford said the cow was a Santa Gertrudis breed, a red-colored animal that thrives in hotter weather in the southern U.S.

On the downside, the AP's report continues,

The Agriculture Department has been considering when to scale back its higher level of testing for mad cow disease. After the first case of BSE, testing was increased from about 55 to 1,000 daily. As of Monday, 652,697 of the nation's estimated 95 million head of cattle had been tested.

The department hasn't decided how many animals to test once surveillance is scaled back but will follow international guidelines, Clifford said.

I would think that now would be a bad time to "scale back" testing for the disease, but I am not a  veterinarian.  [bm]

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