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Alberta to End BSE Testing of Elderly Cows

16 July 2008

US - Alberta expects to test half as many cattle for mad cow disease under a new surveillance program that stops targeting the most elderly bovines, and ones without proper documentation.

The provincial and federal governments no longer want to test cattle aged nine years or older, because worldwide experience shows animals that old are less likely to be "mad cows."

That includes the dwindling numbers born before the 1997 ban on feeding practices more likely to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy -- unless animals show clear signs they have the brain-wasting disease.

"Our system is not designed to test and find every BSE cow out there," said Dr. Gerald Hauer, Alberta's assistant chief provincial veterinarian. "We have other safeguards in place to protect both human health and animal health."


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