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Updated Harvard BSE risk analysis released July 26, 2006 Yesterday, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a briefing about the updated BSE risk assessment (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp) it commissioned from the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. A Reuters article about the news leads with the report finding that “The U.S. government virtually eliminated the threat of mad cow disease to consumers by requiring the removal of brains, spinal cords and other high risk items from older cattle” (http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060725/3/2nm0y.html). Representatives from the Consumer advocacy groups Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Consumers Union (CU) were quoted in the Reuters story. Caroline Smith DeWaal from CSPI said the government hasn’t been as proactive as it could be while CU’s Michael Hansen claimed the report was designed to find what the government wanted it to. Harvard conducted its initial BSE Risk Assessment in 2001 and then updated it in 2003. This time, FSIS asked the Harvard risk modeling experts to gauge the effectiveness of new safeguards implemented since December 2003 and determine the need for further controls. Even assuming a much greater rate of BSE incidence than the authors say is likely and imperfect feed ban compliance, the report finds the food safety measures enacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture all reduce potential human exposure to BSE infectivity. Although the Authors detail the risk reduction achieved by individual safeguard measures – removing downer cattle from the human food supply and removing specified risk materials (SRMs) – they also remind that these are reductions relative to what already is a small risk. Harvard also looked at the additional feed ban controls proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Review Team recommendations. The authors say banning ruminant blood in ruminant feed and dedicated production lines would have little effect on disease spread. Instead, the report finds that removing SRMs from dead stock prior to rendering and banning all animal-derived protein from cattle feed would be most effective in reducing the already low risk of BSE spreading in the U.S. cattle herd. Harvard has always attributed its findings to the strong safeguard measures the United States started implementing early on. The United States was the first country in the world to institute a feed ban before any BSE cases were found. In addition, the U.S. started its active BSE surveillance program in 1990. Since then, the United States has tested nearly 1 million cattle, particularly older cattle that are at greater risk for the disease, and found only two cases. As a result of industry and government actions beginning in 1989 and, now quantified in the Harvard report, BSE risk in the United States is very low resulting in the full protection of public and animal health. ...More


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Toppenish, WA Livestock Auction (Fri)

Stockland Livestock Auction - Davenport, WA (Tue)

Washington Weekly Combined Cattle (Fri)

 
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TAKE STEPS TO REDUCE SHRINK WHEN WORKING CATTLE
One of the largest overlooked costs for stockmen when selling cattle is shrink. For example, if you are taking calves to a feeder calf sale, to be weighed off the truck and a two percent pencil shrink taken, those calves may have already lost six percent or more of their weight just getting them to market, resulting in at least eight percent shrink deducted from your paycheck.
BE PREPARED TO ENSURE A SUCCESSFUL CALVING SEASON
The fall calving season has kicked off, but are you really prepared for it? Here are a few of the important things to have handy for a successful calving season.
RESEARCHERS STUDY GENES TO ASSIST IN CATTLE BREEDING
Beef cattle selection may soon be as easy as looking at a cow's genes.
FOCUS ON GOOD MANAGEMENT OF A.I. PROGRAMS
The use of artificial insemination in beef cow operations has never reached anywhere near the acceptance of that of the dairy industry. The reasons for this bear discussion as they typically relate to many of the problems we encounter with A.I. in beef herds.
COMPOSITE BULLS HAVE BECOME POPULAR IN SOME AREAS
Heterosis (hybrid vigor) has proven its value in many agricultural sectors—whether production of hybrid corn, hogs or beef. There are three kinds of heterosis; individual (the calf), maternal, and paternal. Of the three, paternal heterosis has had the least attention.
HUNTIN' DAYLIGHT - SHRINKING HAY LOSSES
Expanding beef production and looming increased calf numbers continue to pressure cattle prices lower, further and faster than many expected.
LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES THAT CAN REDUCE ANTIBIOTIC DEPENDENCE
The handwriting on the wall has become pretty clear. Justified or not, the use of antibiotics in managing the beef animal, at any stage of production, is becoming more challenging.
IT'S THE PITTS -- YOU NEVER KNOW
The bull business is very competitive and purebred people play to win. Because there's a limited number of buyers, breeders spend a fortune on color ads and hire their own field men to exhort ranchers to come to their sale. I knew one breeder who passed out a hundred dollar bill for every bull a ranch manager bought, and once I even saw a bull breeder buy the county fair show steer that belonged to the granddaughter of a large rancher hoping it would pay off.
MAKE A GOOD INVESTMENT WHEN BUYING BULLS
Are you sifting through stacks of bull sale catalogs looking for your next bull? While bull selection can be a daunting task, your choice will impact your herd for years to come. Thus, taking some time to think about what you need from your next herd sire is important.
ADVANCEMENTS IN EPDS IMPROVE ACCURACY
It was about 40 years ago that the beef industry was introduced to the Expected Progeny Difference (EPD). In the early days, data were limited and based on comparisons with a few reference sires used in designed programs. There has been much progress in the methods used to calculate EPDs, and today most breed associations provide EPDs on all animals in the breed. After 40 years, there is still confusion over how to use these tools.
ANNUAL FOOD PLOTS PROVIDE NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
When planting wildlife food plots, which is better: annuals or perennials? Ideally, you should have different plots designated for both cool- and warm-season annuals, as well as perennials.
PLAN VACCINATION PROGRAM BEFORE BREEDING SEASON
Some diseases affect reproduction, in bulls as well as in cows. It's best to try to prevent these diseases by making sure the cows and bulls have adequate immunity before breeding season.
18TH HERDBUILDER REPLACEMENT FEMALE SALE AVERAGES $2,086
The 18th Annual Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale was held August 26th at Alabama Livestock Auction in Uniontown, Ala.
BREEDING SOUNDNESS EXAM CAN PREVENT FINANCIAL WRECK
The importance of a breeding soundness exam in herd bulls can prevent costly revenue losses, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.
S.E. BRANGUS FIELD DAY HELD IN GEORGIA
The International Brangus Breeders Association (IBBA) was represented by five staff members at the Southeastern Brangus Field Day, on Thursday, August 11 through Saturday, August 13, in Grantville, Georgia.

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