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Canada Quarantines One Farm in Mad Cow Search


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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The Canadian government has quarantined a farm in Alberta in its search for cattle connected to the country's second case of mad cow disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Monday.

Veterinary officials told reporters they were using records to find a calf born to the latest afflicted cow, as well as other old cattle that may have eaten the same contaminated feed years ago.

"The owner has provided inspectors with very detailed records of all animals raised on the premise and we're hoping that these records will increase the speed with which our investigation can proceed," said Gary Little, a senior veterinarian with the agency.

The cow had lived on three farms during its life, but only its birth farm was quarantined. It has less than 200 animals.

The carcass of the mad cow will be kept for research.

Officials had not decided whether to kill and test any of the other livestock, but may have more information in 24 to 36 hours, they said.

Officials confirmed Canada's second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, late Sunday, a disappointment to farmers who have lost an estimated C$5 billion ($4.1 billion) because of trade bans by the United States and other export markets.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said Monday it believed Canadian beef was safe and the new case did not change its plans to reopen U.S. borders to cattle under 30 months of age starting on March 7.

But the U.S. Congress must approve the plan during the next two months, and will hear opposition from some quarters, including a U.S. rancher group called R-CALF, which said the imports would be dangerous.

Cattle prices rose Monday at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on ideas the new case could delay Washington's plans to reopen the border.

Canada's first case was discovered in May 2003 and a U.S. case found in December 2003 was later traced back to a Canadian farm.


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