First it was 450 bull calves at a Sunnyside, Wash., dairy that were sent to slaughter in the fight against detect Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy ( BSE). Now, 129 dairy cows at the Mabton, Wash., dairy where the BSE-infected cow was found will follow the same fate.
After going through herd records at the 4,000-cow dairy, USDA officials have determined that nine additional cows originated from the same dairy in Canada as the cow that tested positive for the disease. (They were slaughtered on Saturday.) The other 120 cows that will be sent to slaughter are considered “at risk” because herd records indicate that they arrived at the dairy during the same general time frame as those from Canada, but herd records lack the detail to remove them from the “at-risk” population on this farm.
The 129 cows will be tested for the disease and their meat will not enter the human or animal food chains regardless of the outcome of the tests.
Also on Saturday, the Washington Department of Agriculture placed a “hold order” on a 1,000-cow Quincy, Wash., dairy. Seven cattle in this herd may have come from the Canadian dairy that is the source of the BSE-infected cow in the state. The hold order prohibits the dairy from shipping any cattle so that USDA can conduct a thorough investigation. If these seven head prove to be from the Alberta dairy, that would bring the total found by investigators up to 18 head.
For more details on this on-going investigation, click here.