Mad Cow Fears Send BC Water
Buffalo To Slaughter

CBC News

DUNCAN, B.C. - Acting on suspicions that a herd of water buffalo may be contaminated with mad cow disease, federal officials seized 14 of the animals Saturday from a farm on Vancouver Island.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency took them from a farm near Duncan so that they can be slaughtered and studied. Scientists will look for evidence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
The people who own the property, Darrel and Anthea Archer, had hoped to block the move. They said government veterinarians found no signs of the disease in the herd.
CFIA officials became concerned when Denmark reported a case of BSE in a diary cow one month after the Archers imported their animals from the same country in January 2000.
The discovery of mad cow disease, as it's commonly called, has led to the deliberate destruction of entire herds in Europe.
There is no way to conclusively determine whether a live animal is free of the neurological disease.
"The water buffalo will be humanely euthanized and their brains examined," said the CFIA's Dr. Cornelius Kiley. "We need to take all of the imported animals before we can know for sure they are all clean and do not have the BSE agent."
Anthea Archer said she knows of no cases of water buffalo having mad cow disease. She and her husband said they're confident the tests will be negative and that they can resume their dream of breeding the animals for export and cheese production.
Officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency faced a small group of protesters on the Archer farm as they rounded up the herd's adult animals. The buffalo will be trucked to a facility in Lethbridge.
Results from the CFIA test will be known in about four weeks. The Archers hope if they come back negative, the herd's offspring will be spared.
Written by CBC News Online staff


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