10 years since mad cow linked to Saskatchewan farm
For many working in the Canadian agricultural industry, May 20 marks a dark anniversary. It was 10 years ago that a Saskatchewan family farm near Baldwinton was deemed to be the origin of an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease.
For cattle farmer Trevor McCrea, it is a day he would rather not remember.
DNA from a cow in Alberta that had been infected with BSE was linked to the McCrea farm in 2003.
He told CBC Morning Edition host, Sheila Coles, Monday morning that he'd rather think of other things than BSE on this day.
"It's a long time ago," McCrea explained, "I try to forget it more than I try to remember it."
McCrea's family farm was quarantined in 2003, while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) investigated.
"They took some of the DNA from the cow that had BSE and linked it back to our herd," said McCrea.
The McCreas were swarmed by media and a thorough investigation was conducted by the CFIA.
More than a dozen farms across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia were affected by mad cow disease, and several ranches in those provinces were also quarantined as a precaution.
The investigation into the source of the infection led to 1,400 cattle being slaughtered and tested for the disease.
Countries such as the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia imposed temporary import bans on Canadian beef.
Although McCrea and his family are still in the cattle industry, he told CBC News it has not been easy.
"With the cattle industry since then, [it] just seems like you're waiting holding your breath for the next thing that's going to blow up," he said. "Last fall there was the E.coli. It just put another black mark on the cattle industry."