July 26, 2008,
Canadian cattle were not properly tracked, audit finds
By STEPHEN J. HEDGES
Source of Article: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5908457.html
CWASHINGTON — Despite persistent fears of mad cow disease in Canadian beef, the Department of Agriculture has failed to properly track hundreds of Canadian cattle coming into the
The inspector general's audit, completed in March but only recently made public, said that some of the imported cattle did not have proper identification or health records despite federal regulations requiring them.
The audit did not say how many cattle were improperly brought into the U.S., and inspector general spokesman Paul Feeney said auditors are not sure of that number. The report said that a lack of records meant that "it cannot be determined" whether shipments other than those discovered "have bypassed inspection or whether this is a systemic problem."
million cattle were imported into the
The audit mainly faulted Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, for failing to properly check records as the cattle crossed the Canadian border.
Cows still turning up mad
Mad cow, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is a fatal disease that attacks a cow's nervous system. It also can cause a variant in humans that is always fatal.
When mad cow was first discovered in Canada in 2003, the USDA cut off all Canadian cattle imports, as did many other countries.
despite years of precautions,
the Agriculture Department began to allow imports of Canadian cattle, which are
November 2007, the department also began to allow older cattle, arguing that no
new mad cow cases have been discovered in the
Karen Eggert, an APHIS spokeswoman, said the audit covered a
period in 2006, before older cattle were allowed into the
conditions include health and identification procedures, sealed trucks, permanent markings on cattle and restrictions on their
movement once in the
Eggert said that her agency disagrees with some of the audit's findings but that "other recommendations have provided us with sound ideas."
of the Agriculture Department's mad cow policies said the audit bolsters their call to ban imports. A cattle
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