CANADA HAS confirmed its second case of BSE, just days after the USA decided to reopen its borders to live cattle – a trade suspended since Canada”s first BSE casualty in May 2003.

A statement from the Ottawa-based department of agriculture said the BSE suspect had been uncovered following routine testing of a “downer”, one of the high-risk categories in the national surveillance programme.

As with the previous case, the 10-year-old dairy cow had been born before the Canadian ban on meat and bonemeal was introduced in 1997.

The authorities added that the latest case was not unexpected, given all the extra testing in 2004.

They also insisted it did not indicate any increased risk to food safety, as Canada requires the removal of specified risk materials.

This appears to have satisfied both US administrators and farm leaders, who have expressed their support for the Canadian approach.