January 6, 2004



Doomed Herd Contains Infected Cow's Calf


The U.S. Department of Agriculture will slaughter about 450 calves on one of several Washington state farms quarantined because of a lone confirmed case of mad cow disease, officials said Monday.


'The herd contains a single month-old bull calf that was born to the infected cow. The precautionary measure will occur sometime this week, depending on logistics and the weather, officials said.


'Meanwhile, the government will dispatch two USDA undersecretaries to Mexico as part of an effort to convince importing countries to lift their ban on U.S. beef.


None of the killed animals' remains will enter the human food chain, USDA chief veterinarian Dr. Ron DeHaven said during the department's latest briefing on the discovery of a lone animal infected with mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE.


The slaughter - DeHaven called it "depopulation" - will occur at a facility that is not currently being used, he said. DeHaven declined to disclose the facility's precise location, so as to prevent possible interference with what he called the "sacrifice" of the bull calves.


The animals' owner will be compensated after he and officials agree on a fair-market value, DeHaven said.


Despite no evidence of other BSE-infected cattle in the U.S., DeHaven said "it's way too premature" to declare the country BSE-free.