BSE: WHAT DO WE KNOW?
BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as "mad cow disease") is one of a number of TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy) diseases. The first report of a TSE was in 1732 involving scrapie in sheep. BSE was first observed in the United Kingdom in 1984 and was specifically diagnosed in 1987. A recent review by Illinois researchers of 217 references summarized the current state of knowledge. The major findings of the review were: TSEs are thought to be caused by an abnormal prion protein; effects are primarily neurological (behavior changes, impaired coordination, muscle spasms, etc.); transmission is by exposure to infected tissue or residue, and the primary method for BSE seems to have been through meat and bone meal from infected animals; most mammals are potentially susceptible to TSEs; transmission between species is rare, but BSE may have arisen from transmission of scrapie from sheep to cattle; there is evidence that TSEs can develop spontaneously at very low levels (possibly 1 in 1 million), so they probably can not be eradicated; and because of the low probability of transmission between species and the low levels of prion in non-nervous tissue, there is minimum risk to humans from consumption of conventional animals. While the biological risk of BSE may be minimal, the political and potential economic risk is not. If for no other reason, protection and development of export markets will be highly influenced by continued concerns about BSE. (J. Animal Sci. 83:1455)
Source: Newsletter "The Beef Cattle Browsing", June 2005, Editor: Dr. Steve Hammack, Professor and Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Emeritus, Texas A & M University.
posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 4:04 PM
Saskatchewan Government Supports Expanded Beef Processing
>The Saskatchewan Government has announced a $37 million package to drive development of the meat processing sector in that province. The package focuses on expanding federally inspected meat processing. Slaughter capacity is expanding in Canada and shrinking in the U.S. due to the continued border closure. Yesterday another U.S. plant announced it was closing as a direct result of the border closure, with a loss of 200 American jobs.
Agriculture Canada announced $1.8 million in funding to assist packing plants, veterinarians and others to purchase radio frequency identification readers. This will enhance Canada’s tracking and tracing system for cattle and further enhance the age verification system.
Pasted from <http://www.info-cca.ca/index.cfm?app=bulletins&fuseaction=bulletin&bulletinid=487>
posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 1:29 PM