The Japanese government revealed yesterday [Wednesday] that it was implementing a full ban on imports of live deer and deer meat from the US and Canada, in response to an outbreak of chronic wasting disease among the deer populations in those areas.

Japanese news agency Kyodo reported that the disease has similar symptoms to BSE, or mad cow disease, and because of its seriousness the country has not actually imported live deer from the US since 1998 and from Canada since 1991.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) revealed that it will be requesting local governments to undertake inspections for signs of the disease on domestic farms which have reared deer imported from either the US or Canada.