Wisconsin State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, said he was surprised to hear about the case of Mad Cow disease reported in California, just because it had been so long since a case was reported in the U.S. The last case previously was in 2006.
Meanwhile, one Wisconsin cattle farmer we spoke with express a different emotion.
"You're always saddened when you hear something like this attack your industry, or go wrong in your industry," said Terry Quam, a fourth-generation farmer from Lodi who produces angus cattle.
"I think if you look at it both from a producer's standpoint and the USDA standpoint, you never want anything that's negative toward your product to go out there," said Quam.
Quam feels confident in the Mad Cow, or BSE, testing procedures in the U.S.
Since the Mad Cow scare in 2003, when many countries stopped importing U.S. beef, the USDA has ramped up testing efforts to more than 40,000 head of cattle tested each year.
This is the first positive test in six years. Still, cattle futures dropped quickly upon the news yesterday.
"Markets tend to be nervous, and they tend to react to news like this," said Jeff Swenson, a livestock and meat specialist for the state. "So no, I wasn't at all surprised by that."
We asked State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt what would happen if a cow tested positive in Wisconsin.
"We'd be looking at the epidemiology within the herd, based on the age of the animal, if it was a typical BSE, the current plans are, you take out age-related animals; in the same age group," said Dr. Ehlenfeldt. "And you examine those animals."
Swenson says he expects cattle futures to bounce back rather quickly, barring any positive test or any other negative news.
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