USDA Says Third Cattle Herd
Now Under Quarantine

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday that another U.S. cattle herd in Washington state is under quarantine, bringing to three the number placed under a "state hold order" since the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was announced on Dec. 23.
Two Washington state herds were quarantined last week, soon after the diagnosis of mad cow in a Holstein dairy cow. A third dairy herd in the state was quarantined earlier this week, USDA Chief Veterinarian told reporters on Friday.
"Three facilities are under state hold orders," he said.
The USDA has been trying to pinpoint the location of 81 animals believed to have been imported from Canada with the infected cow in 2001.
"We now have 11 of them accounted for," DeHaven said. "The whereabouts of the remaining 70 animals have yet to be confirmed."
Nine of the animals believed to have crossed the border from Canada with the infected cow were already quarantined. USDA investigators found another cow living in a dairy herd in Washington state, DeHaven said. The 11th animal is the infected cow, which was slaughtered on Dec. 9.
The USDA said it will hold a meeting on Monday with industry members to discuss how the federal government will ban "downer" cattle -- those too sick or crippled to walk -- from the human food supply.
Because downer cattle are unlikely to be taken to slaughter plants with healthy animals, more mad cow testing will have to be done at U.S. rendering plants and on farms, DeHaven said.
"We are working with industry representatives to reposition our efforts to collect those samples on the farm, at rendering facilities and the so-called 3D -- down, dead, diseased animals -- in those plants where those meat products are harvested," DeHaven said.
Under the USDA's new safety rules announced last week, downer cattle can no longer be used to make human food and must be diverted to rendering plants for use in pet food and other products.



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