Latest US mad cow case hit old, lame dairy cow

WASHINGTON, April 27 Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:33am EDT

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - An elderly dairy cow that became lame and eventually could not stand suffered the latest U.S. case of mad cow disease at a dairy farm in Tulare County in California's Central Valley, authorities said.

The cow was 10 years, seven months old, U.S. Agriculture Department officials said, releasing the first details of the animal, initially described as a dairy cow in central California, on Thursday.

The cow was killed and the carcass was taken to a rendering plant, where it was tested for mad cow disease, a fatal, brain-wasting disease.

Baker Commodities Inc said the carcass was held at its dead stock facility in Hanford, California. In a statement, the company said animal was chosen for random testing under USDA's mad-cow surveillance system on April 18. USDA said the carcass will be destroyed.

It was the fourth U.S. case since 2003 of mad cow, formally named bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The disease takes several years to develop, so it is primarily a disease of older cattle.

Tulare County, about 175 miles (210 km) north of Los Angeles, is the largest milk-producing county in California, the leading U.S. dairy state. (Reporting By Charles Abbott; Editing by David Gregorio)

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