China halts cow meat imports from Canada after mad cow disease case

Three white and brown cows look into the camera, animal news
Three cows with tags in their ears, photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

China and the Philippines have suspended imports of Canadian beef due to a mad cow disease case in the country, a spokesperson for Canada’s agriculture department said on Monday.

In December, Canada detected mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in an eight-year-old cow in the province of Alberta. The disease slowly destroys a cow’s brain and spinal cord. The animal was euthanized on the farm.

People can get a version of mad cow disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) by eating the nerve tissue of an animal infected with mad cow disease.

It’s the first mad cow disease case reported in Canada in six years. Last month, South Korea announced it banned Canadian beef imports.

China is the world’s biggest importer of cow and calf meat. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) said the country is Canada’s third-biggest export market. “We expect these [suspensions] to be short in duration,” Dennis Laycraft, the CCA’s executive vice-president, said.

In October, a case of BSE was detected in a 14-year old cow in Germany and in September, Brazil confirmed two animals had gotten mad cow disease.

The Animal Reader is a small independent news platform with daily posts about issues affecting animals.

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