- A goat in France has been diagnosed with mad-cow disease,
various news agencies have reported.
- The European Union confirmed the case on Friday, saying
that the animal is the first other than a cow to have the disease.
- British scientists have confirmed the goat has the brain-wasting
disease after first suspecting that the goat had scrapie, a disease in
the same family as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
- According to the EU's food safety group, EFSA, further
checks are necessary to tell what the risk will be from goat meat.
- Since 1993, there have been only five mad cows identified
in Canada. BSE is most likely transmitted through tainted cattle protein
used in cattle feed.
- Earlier this month, Ottawa acknowledged that manufacturers
may have used infected livestock feed even after new rules were implemented
in 1997 that would have prohibited such practices. Representatives from
the U.S. Agriculture Department have been in Canada this week, examining
how well the feed ban has worked.
- Canada's economy has suffered as a result of a case last
year, and the cattle industry has lost an estimated $5-billion.
- The U.S.-Canada border is still closed to live cattle
imports but is expected to reopen on March 7. Earlier this month, a U.S.
cattlemen's group filed a lawsuit, still in the courts, to keep the border
closed permanently. In the meantime, the group has said that it may seek
an injunction to delay the reopening.
- Japan also banned Canadian beef in 2003 after the discovery
of a mad-cow case in Alberta. During Prime Minister Paul Martin's visit
to Asia last week, he met with Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
and received a commitment to speed up the opening of the border.
- Canada has recorded only one incidence of a human death
resulting from the human version of mad cow, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob
- The Canadian was believed to have contracted the disease
while living in Britain. Britain has recorded 148 deaths, while France
has recorded nine, Ireland two, the United States one and Italy one.
- A study release last week reported that the proteins
responsible for causing brain-wasting diseases in people and animals, called
prions, had found in organs of lab mice other than the brain.
- Before the discovery, it was believed that prions were
located only in the brain and central nervous system. Since the findings
were preliminary, the Canadian Food Inspection agency said that there is
no reason for alarm in terms of how the discovery will affect the animal
feed chain and human health.
- With reports from André Picard, Brian Laghi and
- EU Finds First Case Of Mad Cow In Goats
- BBC News
- A French goat has tested positive for mad cow disease
- the first animal in the world other than a cow to have bovine spongiform
- The European Commission says further testing will be
done to see if the incidence is an isolated one.
- The animal, which was slaughtered in 2002, was initially
thought to have scrapie, a similar brain-wasting condition sometimes seen
- But British scientists have now confirmed the disease
was in fact BSE.
- More than 100 people in the UK have died from vCJD (variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease), the human form of BSE, after eating tainted
- But the EC stressed on Friday that precautionary measures
put in place in recent years to protect the human food chain from contaminated
meats meant there was no need for alarm over the latest finding.
- Markos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner responsible for Health
and Consumer Protection, said: "I want to reassure consumers that
existing safety measures in the EU offer a very high level of protection.
- "This case was discovered thanks to the EU testing
system in place in France.
- "The testing programme has shown us that there is
a very low incidence rate of TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies)
in goats and allowed us to detect suspect animals so that they can be taken
out of the food chain, as was done with this goat and its entire herd."
- UK Expert Opinion
- BSE had not previously been found under natural circumstances
in ruminants other than cattle - although its presence in goats or other
ruminants had been viewed as theoretically possible.
- Although some incidences of TSEs in animals such as cats
and antelopes have looked very similar to the BSE strain, there is some
debate over whether these really were mad cow.
- In 2001, a study in the UK was thought to have found
BSE in sheep. It later transpired, however, that the scientists working
on the research study were mistakenly looking at samples obtained from
- The EC now wants to test 200,000 goats in the 25 EU member
states over the next six months.
- The testing would concentrate on countries where cases
of BSE have been reported in cattle in the past, including the UK.
- Current testing has already shown there is a low incidence
of scrapie in goats. In the UK, for example, only two cases have been confirmed
since 1997. In France, which has a far bigger goat population, just 19
positives were recorded among 21,000 animals tested in 2003.
- Across the EU bloc as a whole, there are believed to
be more than 11.5 million goats.
- The European Commission's Standing Committee on Food
Chain and Animal Health will meet to discuss the case of the French goat
and its implications next week.
- The French agriculture ministry said the goat came from
the Ardeche region, in southeast France. It was kept in a flock of 300
animals which were all slaughtered and their carcasses destroyed.
- When French research was unable to distinguish the TSE
found in the goat from the BSE strain, samples were sent to the Community
Reference Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs in Weybridge, UK, for its expert opinion.
It confirmed the presence of the BSE strain.
- EU Finds First Case Of Mad Cow Is G oats
- BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A French goat slaughtered in 2002
has tested positive for mad cow disease, the first case of the disease
found in animals other than cattle, the European Commission said on Friday.
- Mad cow disease, a brain wasting disease, rampaged across
Europe in the 1990s. Over 100 people have died from the human form of the
disease after eating tained meat.
- "Precautionary measures to protect consumers from
this eventuality have been applied in the EU for several years ... any
possible risk to consumers is minimal," the Commission said in a statement.
- "The European Commsision prooposes to step up testing
to determine if this is an isolated incident."
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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