Canadian cattle are once again being shipped across the border to the United States. Shipments were banned after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Canada in May 2003. The ban was to be lifted back in March, but a Montana judge granted an injunction. It was lifted after the US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Montana judge's decision.
The cows are among the first to be exported from Canada to the United States in over two years. Two separate shipments of cows crossed the border for the first time since May of 2003 when a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Canada.
Mad cow -- its medical name is Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- is a degenerative and fatal disease that affects adult cattle. One hundred fifty people have died worldwide from a fatal brain disorder called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease due to eating meat tainted with BSE.
The lifting of the ban is good news to Canadian cattle producers like Adrian de Wilde, who lost millions of dollars. "For us, it's kind of very special because we were one of the first ones to be cut off and hopefully one of the first to send cattle across to the U.S. again."
Although U.S. cattle growers sought to block Canadian imports, the ban also affected the U.S. meat packing industry, which laid off thousands of workers.
Some cattle producers, like Steve Primrose, feel the lifting of the ban will help both countries. “Very happy for the industry and for both sides of the border because this needs to happen if you need to stabilize and save your industry."
Since the initial mad cow incident in 2003, Canada has found two more cases. The United States also discovered two cases, one from a Texas-born cow and the other from a cow imported from Canada.