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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Disposal options to mitigate BSE risks in the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia Levine, Adam


The border closure to Canadian cattle and beef exports since the discovery of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in May and December of 2003 have had overwhelming effects on the Canadian economy. Estimates suggest that nearly $6 billion in total has been lost in the 1½ years since the border closure. Two additional cases have now been detected, both within two weeks of the announcement on December 29th 2004 that trade with the U.S. (Canada's largest trading partner for cattle and beef products) was to resume in March 2005. The second discovery was a beef cow born after the ruminant feed ban was put in place in 1997 and fears that the border would remain closed have been validated. To date, trade of live cattle to the U.S has not resumed. The biological wastes considered to have the highest probability of containing the BSE infectious agent known as the prion are termed specified risk materials (SRM). As such, SRMs have been prohibited from the human food chain in Canada since August of 2003 as a preventative measure against the human version of BSE known as variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). Like BSE, vCJD is attributed to the human consumption of BSE infected meat products. It is a fatal neurological disorder with no known vaccine or cure. Regulatory changes have been proposed to remove SRM from the entire animal feed chain as a measure to mitigate further incidences of BSE. Such a measure would result in large volumes of biological waste that have few acceptable disposal options creating substantial challenges for industry and government. There are few options that are scientifically proven to reduce TSE infectivity through the destruction or inactivation of the infectious agent known as the prion. Findings of this research conclude that there does exist energy recovery disposal options that can serve to reduce release of these materials to soil, groundwater, and wildlife . The inclusion of rendered meat and bone meal co-fired in cement kilns and biodiesel production from tallow stand out as promising options to be considered in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.

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