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Alberta encourages BSE sampling

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are reminding cattle producers in Alberta to call their veterinarians to collect brain tissue samples to be tested for Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as Mad Cow Disease.

Cattle producers play a key role in monitoring and eradicating this disease from the Canadian cattle herd by presenting eligible animals for testing.

It is very important for us to test enough eligible samples to continue to demonstrate the low and declining level of BSE in the national herd. This is essential for maintaining Canada’s status as a “controlled risk” country for BSE, as recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). This status clearly acknowledges the effectiveness of our BSE surveillance, control and elimination measures, and helps in securing international market access for our beef and cattle.

Producers are encouraged to call a veterinarian if they have animals aged 30-to-107 months that are diseased, distressed, down (non-ambulatory) or recently dead, or animals over 30-months-of-age with neurological signs. Producers must have possession of the animals for at least 30 days, in order to provide an adequate clinical history.

The Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program continues to reimburse producers $225 for eligible samples and pay veterinarians for visiting their farms to examine cattle for BSE eligibility and for collection of samples.
Testing for BSE in the Province of Alberta is a shared commitment between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. A network of approximately 300 private veterinarians is readily available in the province to respond to producers’ calls on potentially eligible animals, to examine the animals and to collect samples when eligible.

For more information, click here or contact the Canada and Alberta BSE Surveillance Program at 780-644-2148, or call your nearest veterinarian.

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