- (Reuters) -- Canada, facing a potentially painful economic
blow from its first case of mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy,
BSE) in a decade, said it had quarantined 2 more cattle farms as it tried
to trace the origin of the animal diagnosed with the disease.
- A spokeswoman for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
(CFIA) confirmed the 2 farms had been isolated, but said she did not know
where they were located.
- The crisis erupted Tuesday when officials said an 8-year-old
cow from a farm in northern Alberta had been diagnosed with the disease.
The herd was quarantined and will be destroyed.
- Ottawa said it was confident it could contain the crisis
and was trying to reassure trading partners who have banned beef imports
from Canada that the situation was under control. "I think we will
contain it quickly enough that it will not have lasting effects,"
International Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew told CBC television. The
United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea have all stopped
Canadian beef imports. Pettigrew said he had talked to U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Zoellick Tuesday. "He (Zoellick) of course volunteered to do
everything he could within his administration to make sure collaboration
and cooperation between Canada and the United States prevailed in this
case. So we will make sure the embargo is as limited as possible, as short-lived
as possible," Pettigrew said. "We will work with the Australians
and the Japanese very closely, we will inform them (of what we are doing),
I will try to be on line with them today...."
- Alberta accounts for nearly 60 percent of Canada's beef
production, providing C$3.8 billion (US $2.8 billion) in annual farm cash
receipts. In 2002, Alberta shipped more than half a million live cattle
to the United States.
- Canadian officials are now awaiting results of probes
on the origins of the diseased animal. "We should know in a day or
so, but we cannot speculate at this time where the animal came from,"
Canada's Chief Veterinary Officer Brian Evans told reporters in Paris.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Anne Veneman conceded it could be difficult
to trace where the animal had come from.
- Canadian Finance Minister John Manley said it was too
early to say whether the government would help cattle farmers.
- Canada's only other case of brain-wasting bovine spongiform
encephalopathy was in 1993, but the animal was imported from Britain.
- Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief stressed the animal
had not entered the food chain. "This must be kept in perspective.
It's one cow out of 3.6 million animals that we slaughter a year in Canada,"
he told CBC radio.