Portugal Begins Slaughter of 50,000 Cattle

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A couple of days ago Germany began the slaughter. Now this.

Nando Times

Portugal begins slaughter of 50,000 cattle

The Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal (January 25, 2001 11:18 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - Slaughterhouses across Portugal began killing the first of 50,000 cattle Thursday in an effort to purge herds of mad cow disease. Germany also ordered its first herd killed.

Portugal has recorded 503 cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, the brain-wasting ailment known as mad cow disease cropping up throughout Europe. Portuguese beef was banned for export by the European Union in 1998.

Hoping to keep infected beef from entering the food chain and to reassure jittery consumers, Portuguese officials ordered the slaughter of cattle older than 30 months at a rate of 3,000 a week.

More than 99 percent of the cows found with BSE were older than 30 months.

In Germany, which has recorded 19 cases of BSE in two months, an entire head of 1,012 cattle from one farm was ordered slaughtered Thursday after veterinarians diagnosed one of the animals with BSE.

BSE, believed spread by recycling meat and bone meal from infected animals back into cattle feed, is believed to cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal human equivalent of mad cow disease.

Since the mid-1990s, some 80 Europeans, most of them Britons, have died of new variant CJD, possibly after eating infected beef. No U.S. cows have been diagnosed with BSE.

As the crisis spreads throughout Europe, farm ministers were warned Thursday not to expect extra money from the European Union's central coffers to help cover the cost of combatting the disease.

"We'll spend that $1 billion for mad cow disease, but that's all, because there's no more money left," said Gregor Kreuzhuber, the EU's agriculture spokesman. EU farm ministers are to hold their monthly meeting Monday.

Meanwhile, in Spain -- where beef sales have plummeted by a third since the first case of BSE was announced in November, according to the Agriculture Ministry -- two more cows were diagnosed with the disease Thursday. Spain's total is now nine.

In Italy, farmers took to the streets Thursday to demand more government aid after a second suspected case of BSE turned up.

Belgian authorities also reported the country's third case of mad cow disease.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001



Friday, 26 January, 2001, 12:21 GMT UN: World at risk from BSE

More than 170,000 UK cattle have been diagnosed with BSE The UN food agency has warned that Mad Cow Disease could spread worldwide.

Until now all known cases of BSE and the brain-wasting human variant vCJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), have been reported in Europe, or in cattle imported from Europe.

But the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Friday said all countries which had imported cattle or meat and bone meal (MBM) from western Europe - especially Britain - since the 1980s, could be considered at risk.

The Middle East, eastern Europe, North Africa and India were pinpointed as the highest risk.

And it urged governments to take steps to prevent the disease reaching humans throughout the world.

It said in a statement: "There is an increasingly grave situation developing in the European Union, with BSE being identified in cattle in several member-states of the EU which have, until recently, been regarded as free from the disease."

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) first appeared in 1984 in a cow in Britain that was thought to have eaten feed that included offal from sheep that harboured scrapie, a similar illness.

Since then it has spread across much of Europe.

US quarantine

In the UK, more than 170,000 cattle have been diagnosed with BSE and about 1,300 in Belgium, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland.

Germany and Spain reported their first native cases of BSE last year and Italy reported its first domestic case last week.

Small numbers of cases have also been reported in Canada, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Italy and Oman, but solely in animals imported from the UK.

More than 80 people in Europe have died from vCJD.

In Germany, where Mad Cow Disease has led to the resignation of two ministers over their handling of the crisis, health officials on Friday lowered the age for testing slaughtered cattle for BSE from 30 to 24 months.

Germany may have to slaughter about 300,000 cows this year to guarantee herds are healthy as it works to restore consumer confidence in meat.

In Texas, USA, about 1,000 cattle are being quarantined while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines if they ate animal feed from a mill that may have violated rules designed to prevent BSE.

Australia tests

A recent FDA report found that hundreds of feed makers were violating labelling requirements and other rules associated with the ban.

Australia has extended its tests for BSE to dairy and other products from European countries as part of efforts to remain free of the disease.

But the Japanese Agriculture Ministry said a BSE outbreak was unlikely as the country had taken sufficient preventive measures.

"We have taken preventive measures since 1990 and we have had no reports of the disease in Japan to date.

"It is quite unlikely that the disease will spread to Japan in the future."

Officials in Indonesia and Thailand, two other countries pinpointed by scientists as at risk, ruled out any threat from the disease, saying they sourced their feed and beef from countries free of the disease.

Indian experts in Delhi expressed little immediate concern over the disease though the country has an immense cattle population.

Cows are considered sacred and are protected by Hindus who do not eat beef.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001.


US Quarantines 1000 Cattle as Mad Cow Disease Precaution

Latest Developments

Feds Investigate Quarantined Cattle (AP) - Federal health regulators are investigating 1,000 cattle that were quarantined in Texas after a feed mill disclosed it may have violated rules designed to prevent mad cow disease. Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has never been found in any U.S. cattle. However, as a precautionary measure, the government has banned cows and sheep from being given feed made from animal parts. More...

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001.

Gee, I feel so lonely on this thread....


Friday January 26 3:46 PM ET Purina Mills Halts Use of Ruminant Meat/Bone Meal

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Leading U.S. feed maker Purina Mills Inc., the source of the feed that led U.S. authorities to quarantine a cattle herd in Texas as a precaution to keep mad cow disease out of U.S. herds, said on Friday it had stopped using ruminant meat and bone meal in feed.

The feed that sparked the quarantine contained meat and bone meal made from ruminant animals, which has been banned from U.S. cattle feed since 1997. Feed containing meat and bone meal from infected cattle is suspected in Europe of spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE (news - web sites)), or mad cow disease.

``As of last night, Purina Mills no longer uses any ruminant meat or bone meal in any of our products or at any of our plants,'' Purina Mills spokesman Max Fisher said.

No case of BSE has ever been reported in the United States. Purina Mills said its operations had used only meat and bone meal produced in the United States.

Fisher said the company's move followed a successful voluntary recall of one animal feed product shipped to one customer. Purina said it discovered the feed had gone to a Texas cattle feedlot but may have contained ruminant meat and bone meal.

Purina's statement followed an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) on Thursday that it had quarantined a herd of cattle in Texas to investigate whether the cattle might have been fed ruminant bone meal.

Scientists believe cattle can contract BSE if they eat the remains of infected animals. More than 80 people have died in Europe from the human variant of BSE, believed to be tied to consumption of infected beef.

Purina's decision would go further than the government regulation by removing ruminant meat and bone meal from all its products, including feed intended for poultry and swine.

``By so doing, that totally takes the risk factor down to zero of ruminant meat and bone meal getting formulated into a cattle product at a Purina plant,'' Fisher said.

``Purina voluntarily initiated this product recall and immediately notified regulatory agencies about the recall,'' the company said.

``The customer is holding all animals pending the outcome of regulatory agency review,'' it said. ``All remaining feed containing the ingredient has been successfully recalled.''

Fisher said the Purina Mills feed mill at Gonzales, Texas, was responsible for the product that was recalled. The amount of suspect feed amounted to 22 tons, he said.

Texas cattle industry sources on Thursday estimated the number of cattle being held at about 1,200 head. Texas is the largest U.S. cattle-producing state, with about 2.9 million head at feedlots.

Earlier this week, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said it had invited officials of the feed industry, U.S. Agriculture Department, FDA and the meatpacking and rendering industries to a meeting in Washington next Monday, Jan. 29, to underscore the need for ``zero tolerance'' of any mad cow disease threat to the United States.

Purina Mills has 49 feedmills in the United States.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001.

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