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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Imports of pet food curtailed by mad cow
It may not be the most serious consequence of mad cow disease, but if you own a finicky dog or cat, the ban on U.S. beef imports means that you better start looking for some new recipes. Jacqueline Woods has the story.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
A temporary ban has been placed on all imported animal food that contains beef because it may contain the material that causes Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease.

Dr. Michael DeShield, Vet/Director of Food Safety, BAHA
"When a cow is slaughtered, the prime cuts and stuff goes to humans, but like some parts like might include the spinal cord and the brain and stuff like that go to a rendering facility. These rendering facilities grinds up all that stuff and its kind of protein they incorporate into animal feed usually, some animal feed. So that is what we are looking at. But also any feed that is fed to animals to that has that bovine material is also on ban."

Over seventy percent of the country's animal products and byproducts are imported from the United States. When the deadly disease was first detected in the U.S. on December ninth, it did not take long for the World Organization for Animal Health to put member countries like Belize on the alert. Veterinarian and the Director of Food Safety at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Dr. Michael DeShield, says although the risk of animals getting mad cow disease is rare, it never hurts for pet owners to be careful.

Dr. Michael DeShield
"Well, they don't have to really worry because dogs don't really get B.S.E. from this thing. The main idea is to make sure that the risk material doesn't come in and humans come into contact with it. So unless the humans eat dog food and the food is nutritious, actually, dog food is very nutritious, then that would be the risk, so just tell people to stay away from dog food."

Because most of the animal foods presently on our store shelves were manufactured before December, the products are considered safe. It's only those made after December that are considered a potential risk. Dr. DeShield says the ban will remain in effect until the investigation conducted in the United States is completed.

Dr. Michael DeShield
"They are pretty busy trying to trace back and doing all where this stuff was, so like other countries in the region, we are looking at that investigation to make sure that it is a thorough investigation. And when they conclude and find out what the source was and where all this thing was distributed, all the recalls have been done, then they will inform the international community and then we will lift the ban if that is the case."

In case your favorite pet food containing beef runs out, DeShield advises you to slowly start introducing other equally tasty products that have ingredients such as chicken, lamb, turkey, and others that are safe.

Dr. Michael DeShield
"I think it is always a good idea to have a variety of food that the animal can eat and not just stick to one brand because there are times when you run out of that brand and the animal is not accustomed to eating anything else. So as a veterinarian I always think it is a good idea to have a little variety of them. Of course any food that you give to your animal, they should introduced gradually and not just a sudden change, but always have a stock on hand to make sure that you have it there."

DeShield says the temporary ban is to eliminate as much as possible any risk of mad cow disease. There is no reason for pet owners--or anybody else--to panic. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 3,035
This is not a blow to Charlie who has just received some smoked salmon and caviar from an unknown board member-Charlie says woof-and to all nice people out there I would like to point out that during this beef crisis please send supplies of caviar and smoked salmon down to us poor,neglected and deprived people of San Pedro.
p.s. thanks to whoever brought the tasty snacks.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 591
A man and his wife enter a nice restaurant, locate a table and sit down. The waiter approaches them and asks for their order.

"I'll have your thickest, juiciest steak," the man replies.

Aghast, the waiter cries, "But sir, what about the mad cow?!"

"Oh," the man says, "she'll order for herself."


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