Another miss: Tests negative for mad cow


SALEM, Ohio – False alarm.
Tests on the cow most recently suspected to have mad cow disease have come back from the lab with negative results, according to the USDA.
The test results were publicized Aug. 3.
Two locations. Testing was done at both the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England.
A private veterinarian sent the sample from the cow that was at least 12 years old and died during calving, according to John Clifford, deputy administrator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
USDA allows accredited vets to collect and submit samples for testing through its enhanced surveillance program.
“Needless to say, we are very pleased with these results,” Clifford said.
More to come? Jim McAdams, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, said the government has indicated the enhanced surveillance program may identify additional cases of BSE in American cattle.
The figures support the government’s prediction, according to Ohio State University ag economist Brian Roe.
In his latest livestock outlook, Roe reported there were 104.5 million cattle in the U.S. as of July 1. His figures show 42.8 million of those are cows most likely 2 years or older.
If only 2.3 percent of the existing cow herd is older than 8 years of age, it means the U.S. has about a million animals born before the 1997 feed ban that prohibits feeding ruminant animal protein, Roe said.
It wouldn’t be unexpected if more BSE announcements were to follow, he said.
Still in court. Meanwhile, R-CALF USA continues to fight USDA’s minimal risk rule in federal court.
The minimal risk rule re-established trade with Canada for beef products and live cattle under 30 months of age July 14.
“We remain confident that USDA’s final rule on BSE and the establishment of minimal risk regions is premature and does not adequately protect the U.S. cattle industry from the risks of introducing the disease from BSE-affected countries,” said president Leo McDonnell.
R-CALF is requesting a permanent injunction against the USDA final rule, which would close the Canadian border once again.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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