US confirms first ever 'mad cow' case

The United States has confirmed its first ever case of 'mad cow disease' in Washington state.

    US authorities insisted that beef products were still safe

    Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told a Washington press conference on Tuesday a sample from the suspect cow had been sent to Britain for tests.
      
    She said the US authorities remained "confident" in the safety of US beef. The farm where the diseased cow was slaughtered has been quarantined. Veneman said the "risk to human health was minimal" but safety precautions would be taken. The diseased cow was identified as a "downer" animal - one that is too sick to walk.

    Scientists believe humans can be infected with the brain-wasting illness by eating diseased meat.

    'Mad cow disease', also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), had previously not been found in the United States, but it devastated the European cattle industry in the 1990s.

    Washington created a "response plan" to deal with any cases discovered within the United States, said the agriculture secretary. This plan has been activated.

    Concerns

    The US cattle industry has long feared an outbreak of 'mad cow disease', which could result in billions of dollars of losses.
       
    On 20 May, Canada confirmed that one Alberta cow, which was slaughtered in January, had BSE. The disease has been widespread in Europe and has been linked to about 130 human deaths, mostly in Britain.
       
    The discovery of the sick Canadian cow triggered an immediate halt of Canadian meat exports by most countries as a precaution.
       
    Because of concerns over 'mad cow disease', the European Union in 1994 banned the use of mammalian meat and bone meal in cattle feed, but it has allowed the products to be used in feed for other animals like chickens, pigs and fish.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.