USDA To Destroy 450 Cattle
Linked To Mad Cow

By Randy Fabi
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday it will destroy 450 bull calves in Washington state this week, the first cattle to be killed in connection with the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States.
State officials have quarantined three herds in Washington state that are linked to a Holstein dairy cow that was diagnosed with mad cow disease on Dec. 23. The number of quarantined animals total at least 4,400, of which the calves to be killed are a part.
"We have made a decision to depopulate those bull calves," USDA Chief Veterinarian Ron DeHaven told reporters. "In total, there are approximately 450 animals that will be sacrificed as part of this overall effort."
The herd targeted for depopulation contains a one-month-old bull that was born from the infected cow before it was slaughtered on Dec. 9. DeHaven said there was a "very remote" chance the infected cow spread the brain-wasting disease to its offspring.
USDA also said that since they were unable to pinpoint which animal in the herd is that offspring, all the calves in it were being destroyed.
The 450 cattle will be sent to a slaughtering plant that is not currently in operation. USDA officials said the animals will not enter the food supply or be rendered into animal feed.
The department would not disclose the name of the slaughter plant because of privacy concerns. © Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.


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