Final test results have confirmed BSE in a mature cross-bred beef cow from Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says the animal, at least 15 years of age and born well before the 1997 introduction of Canada's ruminant meat and bone meal feed ban, was purchased by the owner as part of an assembled group of cattle in 1992.

George Luterbach, CFIA regional program manager for animal health, says the cow, found on a farm in Manitoba's Interlake region, was detected as part of an ongoing BSE surveillance program. Investigators are attempting to locate the birth farm in order to ID the animal's herdmates and trace feed to which it may have been exposed at a young age. A calf born to the affected animal in 2004 also is being traced.

Last week, the Canadian government said it's beefing up its feed ban to accelerate the eradication of BSE from Canadian cattle. BSE specified risk materials (SRMs) will be removed from all feeds, pet food and fertilizer (see "Canada Strengthens BSE Feed Controls," June 30 BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly). The CFIA says the change to be implemented over the next 12 months will remove more than 99% of potential infectivity from the animal feed supply.

In a related matter, Canada-based feed company Ridley Inc., said last week it's appealed a Quebec Superior Court decision permitting a class-action lawsuit over BSE to move through the court system. Ridley is seeking a stay of the proposed Quebec action pending decisions by the Ontario Court of Appeals in a parallel lawsuit.

The plaintiffs say the feed company should have discontinued using ruminant meat and bone meal in its cattle feed prior to U.S. and Canadian regulations banning the use in August 1997. They also charged Ridley as the supplier of feed to a BSE-infected Alberta cow early in its life before the 1997 ban. The company says a CFIA investigation found no company wrongdoing. Ridley says it had discontinued the use of the banned products in its cattle feed prior to the CFIA ban.

Since 2003, there have been three cases of BSE in Alberta, two in British Columbia and one in Saskatchewan. The CFIA last confirmed a BSE case in April. The six-year-old dairy cow, found on a farm in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, was only the second cow born after the 1997 feed ban.

Given the age of the animal in the latest BSE case, the Denver-based Livestock Marketing Information Center, Lakewood, CO, does not expect it to be a market issue in the U.S.
-- Clint Peck