News Update
Jan. 23, 2006

BSE Case Detected in Canada

A new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been discovered in Canada, officials confirmed today.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reported the disease in an approximately 6-year-old, crossbred cow born and raised in Alberta. According to reports, the animal did not enter the human food or animal feed systems.

Alberta officials have launched a comprehensive investigation into the feeding regimen and storage practices of the farm where the BSE-infected cow was discovered, CFIA stated in a release. The agency will now work to identify offspring of the affected animal, as well as cattle born on the farm within 12 months before and after the affected animal. Any live animals found from these groups will be segregated and tested, according to CFIA.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said he does not anticipate changes in the status of beef or live cattle imports to the U.S. from Canada.

“As I’ve said many times, our beef trade decisions follow internationally accepted guidelines that are based in science,” 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. We will continue to adhere to international guidelines in our relationships with all trading partners, and my hope continues to be that we achieve a system of science-based global beef trade.”

Johanns said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will work with Canada and its investigative team and continue to evaluate the situation as the investigation continues.

Johanns’ reaction to the news was mirrored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“While this is unfortunate news, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association does not expect this case to affect the beef trade status between the United States and Canada or other countries,” said Terry Stokes, NCBA chief executive officer (CEO). “We believe the United States should continue to engage in trade that is consistent with the international standards outlined by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and we expect countries that trade with us to do the same.”

Japan Demands Answers

Japanese officials today said they would not resume U.S. beef imports without an explanation of how spinal material appeared in a shipment of U.S. beef last Friday, Jan. 20, Reuters reported.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso today to discuss beef imports. According to Japanese news source Asahi Shimbum, Abe explained to Zoellick that Japanese customers won’t buy U.S. beef unless suspicions are cleared.

Zoellick proposed talks between American and Japanese officials regarding preventive measures.

USDA Undersecretary J.B. Penn is scheduled to meet with officials there tomorrow.

Meanwhile, American Meat Institute (AMI) president and CEO J. Patrick Boyle identified the mistaken shipment as bone-in veal. He expressed regret over the shipment not approved for export to Japan and pledged to work with USDA and Japanese officials to address the situation.

National Western Breaks Attendance Record

The 100th National Western Stock Show (NWSS) Rodeo and Horse Show in Denver, Colo., this year has shattered attendance records.

According to NWSS officials, attendance at the 2006 event was 726,972, up 14.75% from the 2005 NWSS and 13.4% more than the 2003 show. In addition, paid performance tickets were up 7.9% from 2005 figures, and ticket revenues increased 9.7%.

The achievement makes the NWSS Denver’s largest annual convention.

— compiled by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc.

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