Facts about German-imported cattle in Texas

Question: When were the German cattle imported into the United States?

Twenty-nine animals were imported legally into Texas between February 1996 and September l997. Eight others went to Colorado, one to California, one to Illinois. At the same time, two head were imported from Belgium to Minnesota.

Four of the animals in Texas have been destroyed and tested, with negative results for BSE. Three others of the imports died of causes not related to BSE, leaving 21 German-imported cattle currently in Texas.

The eight in Colorado and the one animal in California also have been destroyed and tested, with negative results for BSE.

Q: When were the cattle placed under quarantine — and why?

In l997, Belgium had its first case of BSE, believed to have been the result of feeding contaminated feed. It was also determined at that time that contaminated feed was being moved throughout the European Union, and the United States stopped allowing the importation of cattle and meat products from the EU.

All EU cattle in Texas were located, and the Texas Animal Health Commission, in cooperation with the USDA in Texas, in March l997, placed quarantines on these animals. Likewise, state veterinary officials placed quarantines on the According to OIE reports:

Great Britain has had the lion's share of cases, with 174,648 cases in 34,810 herds, as of Jan. 29, 01. Of these, 60 percent were in dairy herds.

Belgium — imported and domestic animals — 23 cases total.

Denmark — One imported case in l992, one domestic in 2001.

France — 264 cases — imported and domestic animals.

Italy — Tw cases, imported and domestic animals.

Liechtenstein — Two domestic cases.

Luxembourg — One domestic case.

Netherlands Nine cases, domestic.

Portugal — 509 domestic and imported cases.

Spain — 34 cases.

Switzerland — 367 cases, domestic and imported.

Prepared by the Texas Animal Health Commission 1-800-550-8242

European imports shipped to Colorado, California and Illinois.

Q: Has Germany had any cases of BSE?

According to officials in Paris who keep the reportable disease data for purposes of international trade, Germany had a BSE-positive animal in l992. It is important to note this was an imported animal from Britain.

Three more animals imported to Germany were positive in l994, and two imported animals in l997.

Not until November 2000 did Germany have domestic cattle affected by the disease. Forty-seven domestic animals in Germany have tested positive.

Germany, like other EU countries, is testing slaughter animals for the disease.

Q: What will happen to the 21 German-imported cattle in Texas?

The animals have been held under quarantine, while the cattle industry — spearheaded by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association — raised funds to augment the federal indemnity of $2,000 per animal. A professional appraiser has determined the fair market value of the animals. None of the animals have shown any signs of BSE.

Funding from the industry has been secured, and the animals will be euthanized. Brain tissue from each animal will be collected for testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The carcasses of the animals will be incinerated, and the meat will not enter the food chain.

Q: What about the offspring from these animals?

The offspring have not been restricted, as there is no evidence of vertical transmission from asymptomatic animals to calves.

Q: Are there other imported cattle in the U.S that are at risk?

Currently under quarantine are four animals from Great Britain in Vermont, and the two from Belgium in Minnesota. No signs of BSE or positive test results have been found in any imported animals.

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