GFM Network News


The closure of the American border to Canadian cattle in 2003 because of BSE caused billions in losses for ranchers and dairy producers. Nearly two decades later, a resulting class-action lawsuit is now before the courts.

Nearly two decades on, BSE class-action lawsuit goes to trial

The trial is expected to last until late June and it may be next year before a verdict is handed down

Reading Time: 3 minutes A long-awaited class-action lawsuit which could award Canadian ranchers and dairy farmers reparations for damages caused from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is finally before the courts. The class-action lawsuit against the federal government, initially launched in 2005, centres around cattle imported from the U.K. and Ireland from 1982 to 1990, when Ottawa banned the importation […] Read more

A Western blot analysis, used to detect specific proteins in tissue samples, is used to confirm BSE in cattle. (Peggy Greb photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Canada clears step toward ‘negligible risk’ BSE status

OIE delegates to vote in late May, CFIA says

The international committee that reviews countries’ requests for animal health status on specific diseases has called for Canada to level up on its status for BSE. The Scientific Commission of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), which last met virtually over Feb. 1-12, has recommended to OIE delegates that Canada’s application seeking “negligible risk” […] Read more


The pandemic has everyone worried but “we’re not alone by any means,” says Tessa Verbeek, pictured with husband Colin and their daughter Rylin.

What was learned from BSE and what we’re learning now

Veteran producers and younger ones offer their thoughts and insights during this stressful time

Reading Time: 6 minutes Like the BSE crisis of 17 years ago, COVID-19 came without warning and pulled the ground out from underneath cattle producers almost overnight. Those who lived through those days say lessons learned from that time apply today, but there are also some important distinctions between that crisis and the pandemic. Arno Doerksen was chair of […] Read more




A drone captured this file photo of cattle on pasture in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state. (JoseMoraes/iStock/Getty Images)

Brazil reports atypical BSE case

Sao Paulo | Reuters — The Brazilian government reported on Friday a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an animal in Mato Grosso state, according to a statement from the country’s agriculture ministry. The ministry said the case of BSE, also known as mad cow disease, was detected in a 17-year-old cow. It […] Read more


Wagyu beef on skewers at a Tokyo market. (Michal_Staniewski/iStock/Getty Images)

Japan now accepting Canadian OTM beef

The last of Japan’s BSE-related restrictions on Canadian beef are lifted as of last Friday, with the Japanese government’s agreement to allow beef from Canadian cattle over 30 months of age (OTMs). Citing industry estimates, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said the added access announced Tuesday could mean an increase of up to 20 per cent […] Read more

CME August 2019 live cattle with Bollinger bands (20,2) and 50-day moving average in purple. (Barchart)

U.S. livestock: Live cattle rise as Japan drops U.S. beef import curbs

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed higher on Friday, buoyed by news that Japan will eliminate long-held restrictions on U.S. beef imports, traders said. The agreement reopens full beef trade after Japan in 2003 banned U.S. beef over concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which roiled […] Read more



The country’s “robust” BSE surveillance efforts are paying dividends, says the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Stage set for upgrading Canada’s BSE status

Surveillance has highest numbers in five years, country eligible to apply for ‘negligible risk’ status

Reading Time: 2 minutes Canada’s BSE surveillance effort saw the highest number of tests in five years, setting the stage for an application to have its risk status for bovine spongiform encephalopathy upgraded to “negligible.” There were 30,949 samples, mostly submitted by deadstock collection operators, tested in 2018, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said in its e-newsletter. None tested positive […] Read more