Mad Cow Disease
The Environment
Human Health
Animal Rights


  • MAD COW DISEASE [New Factoids/Info] [Definitions/History] [In Humans/Other Species] [Feed/Testing/Rendering] [Politics/Economics] [Resources/Links of Note]

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "USDA Vets: Documents Falsified For Years:" (04/23/04): "The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pressured its veterinarians into falsifying official documents for as long as 20 years, former agency veterinarians told United Press International. The allegations come as a current USDA veterinarian and an attorney representing federal veterinarians have made similar charges about existing internal practices at the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

    The veterinarian -- who requested anonymity because of feared repercussions from the agency -- and the attorney, Bill Hughes of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians, allege the present FSIS management takes retaliatory actions against veterinarian inspectors who do not obey orders from superiors to sign certificates that falsely assert certain food items are safe for export. In some cases, Hughes and the veterinarian charge, even though food items may violate those export requirements, veterinarian inspectors still are expected to sign the documents.

    Former veterinarians said the practice has been condoned in the agency for up to 20 years."
    [Edited from:

    [For another excellent, disturbing, and detailed account, see: http://upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040422-073850-8113r

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "Bush Wants To Open Border To Canadian Beef:" (04/30/04): "The U.S. border should be opened to Canadian live beef imports "as soon as possible," President George W. Bush said Friday after talks with Prime Minister Paul Martin. Restrictions on the movement of beef were high on the list of trade issues Mr. Martin took to Washington for his first bilateral meeting with the U.S. President. Asked about beef imports by a Canadian reporter, Mr. Bush said that he wanted to treat the issue on a scientific, not political basis. "My administration is committed to a policy of free trade when it comes to beef," Mr. Bush said. "It's in our nation's interest that live beef be moving back and forth."

    Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture lifted an 11-month ban on certain Canadian beef products. They ruled that import permits would now cover all edible beef products from cattle under 30 months old."
    [Edited from: http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040430.wbeef0430/BNStory/National/

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "U.S. Reinstates Ban On Canadian Beef Product:" (05/06/04): "The USDA Wednesday abruptly rescinded an unannounced policy shift that allowed the widespread sale of hamburger and other beef products from Canada. The turnaround came 10 days after a federal judge in Montana upbraided the agency for disregarding basic regulatory procedures and possibly jeopardizing public health. Under its April 19 policy shift, which was posted on the USDA Web site without comment, the agency had expanded the list of allowed beef products from Canada to include ground beef, beef with bones, tongue, and liver. Those parts of the animal had been banned or restricted out of concern they could spread the infection that causes mad cow disease, which was detected in Canada last year.

    "It is troubling to the Court how USDA could believe it is appropriate procedure to authorize all imports of bovine meat products from Canada, through the April 19, 2004 memorandum, at the very same time when USDA is in the middle of a rulemaking to determine whether to take such a step," Cebull [U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull in Billings, Montana] wrote. The lawsuit against the USDA was brought by the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), a nonprofit group representing cattle ranchers. CEO Bill Bullard said that his group filed suit because it was concerned that health and safety rules to protect against mad cow disease were being ignored. "The USDA jumped outside the rulemaking process and made decisions that were not based on science.""
    [Very edited from (free registration required): http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/living/health/8602146.htm

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "USDA Aims To Complete Texas Cow Probe This Week:" (05/05/04): "The U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes to find out by the end of this week why the government failed to conduct a mad cow test on a condemned animal in Texas, a senior official told Reuters on Wednesday. On Monday, the USDA said it had not followed standard procedures when it did not test a condemned cow at the Lone Star Beef plant in San Angelo, Texas.

    Ron Hicks, a senior official at the USDA agency conducting the investigation, said regarding a report that an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supervisor may have decided to not perform the test: "That's one of the points we're trying to do a follow up on and find out." Barbara Masters, acting administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said, "We are working as quickly as we can to interview individuals. We hope to finalize that remaining work in the next couple of days." Masters and two other USDA officials, in a telephone interview with Reuters, did not respond directly when asked whether the agency has broadened its probe to include the farm where the condemned cow came from."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "USDA Orders Silence On Mad Cow In Texas:" (05/11/04): "The U.S. Department of Agriculture has ordered its inspectors in Texas not to talk about mad cow disease with outside parties. United Press International has learned that the gag order was sent May 6 by e-mail from the USDA's Dallas district office. It was issued in the wake of the April 27 case at Lone Star Beef in San Angelo, in which a cow displaying signs of a brain disorder was not tested for mad cow disease despite a federal policy to screen all such animals for the deadly disease, otherwise known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

    The order reads: "All BSE inquiries MUST be directed to Congressional Public Affairs Phone #202-720-9113 attention Rob Larew OR Steve Khon. This is an urgent message." Representatives from the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals -- the national inspectors union -- alleged the order suggests the agency is concerned about its personnel leaking damaging information about the Texas case."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 05/24/04]: "Veneman "Won't Be Surprised" If Mad Cow Turns Up In U.S.:" (05/12/04): "As the federal government prepares to expand testing for mad cow disease, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Friday she won't be surprised if it turns up additional infected animals. Still, Veneman and other Agriculture Department and industry officials insisted the nation's meat supply is safe, despite critics who say the government isn't doing enough to protect consumers.

    " There is certainly a likelihood we will find more (diseased) cows," Veneman said Friday during a conference on food safety sponsored by the Consumers Federation of America. "We are committed to an effective BSE program and we use science to guide us," Veneman said. "These are not food safety tests," she said. "They are animal surveillance tests for animal diseases."

    But the chief executive officer of a major Kansas cattle operation said Veneman and the administration were under pressure from the industry and have used science as a "cover" to hold down costs. Stewart [Creekstone Farms Premium Beef ] said the real issue was that a handful of packers who control 80 percent of the nation's meat supply fear that a broader testing program would cut into their profit margins. But Stewart said the tests would cost only $20 per animal and add only 4 cents to the price of a pound of hamburger."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 04/29/04]: "Less Beef Consumed As Prices Go Higher: (03/24/04): "Americans ate less beef last year but paid handsomely for the steaks and burgers they consumed as prices reached record highs. It was a good year for the beef industry, as higher consumer spending offset a 4 percent decline in consumption, according to the Centennial-based National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mad-cow case decimated U.S. beef export markets. About 65 countries shut their borders to American beef shipments, and most remain closed. But domestic demand, accounting for 90 percent of all U.S. beef production, is strong, especially for pricier steaks and loins. Protein-hungry consumers spent a record $67.3 billion on beef last year, up from $65.2 billion in 2002."
    [Edited from:
    http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display=rednews/2004/03/24/build/b usiness/45-beef-consumption.inc

    [Posted 04/29/04]: "Government Declares U.S. Beef Safe To Eat: (03/27/04): "The United States has formally notified its trading partners that U.S. beef is safe to eat, a principal step toward negotiations to lift bans they imposed because of mad cow disease. The letters to his counterparts abroad from the Agriculture Department's chief veterinarian, Ron DeHaven, were accompanied by summaries of what the United States has done to protect beef safety and search for other cases of mad cow. About 50 countries banned U.S. beef or cattle since bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, was identified in December in a cow in Washington state.

    "This information demonstrates that any remaining trade restrictions against U.S. beef and beef products can be lifted without compromising safety," DeHaven said in a statement Friday. The letter and supporting documents are necessary steps for negotiating with other countries to lift their bans, said Gary Weber, director of regulatory affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a trade group."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 04/29/04]: "Canadian Mills Blamed For U.S. Mad Cow: (03/20/04): "The feed that infected two North American cows with mad cow disease probably came from two mills in Canada, officials there say. But they may never know for sure that the feed caused the infection, one official says. The mills used meat and bone meal that may have contained infectious protein from cattle imported from Britain, said Dr. George Luterbach, an official of a mad-cow working group in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. He said Canadian privacy law prohibits disclosing the identity of the mills.

    Both of the infected cows in North America were born in Alberta in 1997, just before Canada and the United States implemented a ban on feeding to grazing animals any meal that contained cattle protein. The cattle were raised in separate herds and ate feed from different mills, but feed for both could have been made from British animals imported before Canada banned such imports in 1989, Luterbach said. Canadian officials who searched for the British cattle could not account for 68 of them. It's possible they were processed into feed, he said. Reconstructing history from partial records will leave a lot of issues unresolved, Luterbach said."
    [Very edited from:

    [Posted 04/28/04]: "Japan Finds 11th Case Of Mad-cow Disease: (03/07/04): "Japan's Ministry of Agriculture said a dead 7-year-old Holstein cow on the northern island of Hokkaido tested positive for mad-cow disease. Japan banned U.S. imports of beef after the December discovery of mad cow in Washington. The U.S. banned Japanese beef imports after Japan reported its first case in Sept. 2001."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 04/28/04]: "Mad-cow Beef 4 Times Amount Earlier Said: (03/02/04): "The amount of beef potentially contaminated by the nation's first mad-cow case was nearly four times higher than the federal government initially reported, The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said. When the USDA launched the recall of affected meat Dec. 23, officials put the total at 10,400 pounds, or 5.2 tons, a figure they repeated for nearly two months. But the actual amount was 38,000 pounds, or 19 tons, the agency now acknowledges.

    The total swelled because meat from the infected cow was mingled with meat >from many other animals when it was ground into hamburger. Officials at the two Oregon plants that processed and distributed the meat said they knew within a day exactly how much had been sold and where it had gone. Consumer advocates say the delay in reporting the true amount shows how difficult it is for the public to get timely information about contaminated meat and points up flaws in a recall process they say favors the meat industry over public health."
    [Very edited from:

    [Posted 04/28/04]: "Government Launches Criminal Probe Into Mad Cow Case: (03/03/04): "The government has begun a criminal investigation into whether records may have been falsified in the nation's first and only case of mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department's inspector general said Wednesday. In a separate investigation, the General Accounting Office is checking the feed industry's compliance with a Food and Drug Administration's rule aimed at keeping the infectious protein blamed for the disease out of cattle feed.

    The criminal investigation is moving alongside a non-criminal review of the Agriculture Department's response to the mad cow case, the department's inspector general, Phyllis Fong, told a House subcommittee. Fong said the criminal investigation focuses on whether the infected Holstein cow truly was a "downer" cattle unable to stand or walk when it was slaughtered Dec. 9 in Moses Lake, Wash. The department initially said the cow was a downer, and that was why it was tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Downers have a higher risk of the brain-wasting disease. But men who saw the cow at Vern's Moses Lake Meat Co. just before it was slaughtered recall it being on its feet."
    [Edited from:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2004/03/03/national 1848EST0860.DTL

    [Posted 04/28/04]: "Mad Cow Effects Ripple Through Food Economy: (03/12/04): "It's been three months since the first case of mad cow disease was discovered in the United States. But even though that heifer from the Yakima Valley in Washington State appears to have been an anomaly, the shock wave from the episode continues to ripple across the country and abroad. Import bans imposed by many other nations have cut deeply into the US beef industry. American consumers remain wary. The US Department of Agriculture is scrambling to restore confidence by changing the way it polices the raising and slaughter of cattle.

    " The direct and indirect impact of BSE has not only assaulted the beef sector but the effects have been felt throughout the ag economy," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman told a farm forum in Troy, Ohio, last Saturday. Some 35 million cows are slaughtered in the US each year. Direct and indirect economic activity from the industry adds up to $188 billion annually, making it the largest portion of the nation's food and fiber industry.

    The single cow confirmed with the disease was discovered in Washington State. But meat from that cow was processed with other beef, then shipped to distributors in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 04/28/04]: "Kroger Unit Sued Over Alleged Sale Of Mad-Cow Beef: (03/05/04): "A woman who says her family ate ground beef linked to the only known case of mad cow disease in the U.S. has filed a class-action lawsuit against a supermarket chain. According to the lawsuit, a recall order for beef linked to the cow was issued that day [Dec. 23rd BSE announcement], but QFC didn't begin pulling the meat from about 40 stores until Dec. 24. The only notice to QFC customers was the posting of small signs in stores starting Dec. 27, according to the lawsuit. QFC had "a duty to warn" buyers under the Washington Product Liability Act and could have done so through newspaper, radio and television advertising and by notifying individuals who made purchases using QFC Advantage discount cards, wrote Steve W. Berman, Crowson's lawyer.

    The family is "now burdened with the possibility that they presently carry (the disease) that may have an incubation period of up to 30 years," the lawsuit says. Scientists believe people who eat beef from infected cows can contract variantCreutzfeldt-Jakob, a fatal brain-wasting disease that has been detected in about 150 people worldwide."
    [Edited from: http://www.cropdecisions.com/show_story.php?id=23944

    [Posted 02/15/04]: (01/23/04): "Cow's 'Downer' Status Comes Into Question: In the days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that mad cow disease had been discovered in a Holstein in Washington, officials insisted that the cow was a "downer" -- unable to walk. The government's most significant subsequent step to prevent spread of the disease -- a Dec. 30 ban on processing "downer" cows for food -- stemmed from that finding.

    Now, three people have come forward to assert that the cow was not a downer. While their stories vary on what happened Dec. 9 at Vern's Moses Lake Meats, their accounts agree on a key point: The cow was able to walk on its own. The distinction on whether the cow could stand is significant. The department's search for mad cow disease has focussed on downed cattle or those with obvious signs of neurological damage. The suggestion that the diseased Washington Holstein had neither problem raises the possibility that detection of that cow's disease may have been a stroke of luck."
    [Very edited from the long and interesting article at:

    [Posted 02/15/04]: (01/15/04): "USDA Quietly Declares Emergency In Washington State: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture has quietly [retroactively] declared an "extraordinary emergency" because of the discovery of a Holstein infected with mad cow disease in Washington state - a move that will give federal officials additional authority to quarantine herds and destroy cattle. The declaration was published Monday [01/06/04] in the Federal Register, a daily publication of all rules, regulations and notices issued by the federal government. Other than the Federal Register notice, the department made no public announcement an emergency had been declared. "It's not a big deal," Jim Rogers, a spokesman for the department, said Thursday. But others said it appeared the emergency declaration was handled quietly so as not to alarm the public or raise further concerns with the dozens of nations that have banned U.S. beef imports since the first-ever case of mad cow disease in the United States was confirmed two days before Christmas."
    [Very edited from:

    [Actual "Declaration of Extraordinary Emergency:"

    [Posted 02/15/04]: (01/17/04): "The Mad Cows Come Home: The world's response to arrival of Mad Cow in the U.S. was basically a replay of what happened earlier to Canada when BSE was reported there in May. A total of 43 countries have now imposed bans on U.S. beef imports, including Japan which purchased $854 million worth in 2002. Of the top four beef buyers (Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Canada account for 92% of U.S. exports) only Canada does not have a full ban (Canada will accept boneless beef from U.S. cattle under 30 months year old). The final economic impact on the $40 billion U.S. beef industry won't be known for awhile. Wisconsin alone exported live animals and meat worth $194 million last year, much of it to Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, those U.S. farmers who had already switched to low-input, organic, grass-fed systems reported unprecedented demand for their BSE-free meat. Similar booms in natural grass-fed beef prices are being reported in Brazil and Australia.

    The fact that Mad Cow found its way to the U.S. was almost an inevitable consequence of corporate globalization and industrial agribusiness."
    [Very very edited from the SUPERB summary of what happened, what's going on, and what should be done:

    [Posted 02/15/04]: (01/19/04): "Japan: U.S., Canada Beef Prone To Disease: A Japanese team that returned Monday from a mission to investigate the United States' first confirmed case of mad cow disease warned that American and Canadian cows were still vulnerable to an outbreak of the illness. Japan, the world's largest customer for U.S. beef, banned imports from the United States last month after the mad cow case was discovered. Canadian beef was banned seven months earlier when a case of the illness was detected there.

    Both Washington and Ottawa are pressing Japan to drop the bans, arguing that their beef products are safe, but the findings of the 11-day Japanese mission to the United States and Canada advised caution. "It cannot be guaranteed that there will not be a recurrence of BSE in the United States,'' the five-member team said in its report. The report cited the close links between the two North American countries' beef industries. The United States imposed restrictions on Canadian cattle and beef after the case was discovered there in May. While acknowledging the safety measures implemented by the United States and Canada, the team concluded that the threat of further infections remained, Agriculture Ministry representative Shukichi Kugita said. "U.S. safety measures compared to those of Japan are inadequate,'' he said, citing the continued use of feed containing protein or bone meal.

    "The threat of cross-contamination remains because such feed can inadvertently get mixed up on farms,'' Kugita said."
    [Edited from:

    [Posted 01/27/04]: (01/06/04): "U.S. Mad Cow Safeguards Below Japan Standard, Minister Says: The U.S. safeguards are not up to the level of those (in Japan)," Agriculture Minister Yoshiyuki Kamei told a news conference. Japan, which has confirmed nine cases of mad cow disease since the brain-wasting illness was first discovered in Japan in September 2001, tests all domestic cattle used for consumption. Japan, the No.1 buyer of U.S. beef, suspended U.S. beef imports immediately after the December 23 announcement of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy."
    [Edited from (very long URL):

    [Posted 01/27/04]: (01/02/04): "Mad Policies Infect Nation's Body Politic: Perhaps the malady should instead be called mad executive, mad bureaucrat, mad lobbyist, mad cattleman or mad politician .... Their past opposition to increased federal testing of slaughtered cattle, which would add a few cents per pound to the cost of beef, certainly appears "mad" in retrospect. Having pursued short-term interests, the industry and its friends in government face potential losses in the billions of dollars from banned exports and falling prices. Whether the cow in question came from Canada or the United States will scarcely matter in an era of free trade and agricultural globalization. What matters to the countries that have already banned American beef imports -- and what should matter to American consumers as well -- is how government responds to the crisis."
    [Very edited from:

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 01/14/02 (yes, 2002): "USDA: Study Shows Mad Cow Prevention Is Working in the U.S., and We Plan to Step Up Precautions:" The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released the findings of a landmark study by Harvard University that shows the risk of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE) is very low in the United States. The report indicates that current protection systems have kept BSE out of the country and would prevent it from spreading if it did enter. "The study…clearly shows that the years of early actions taken by the federal government to safeguard consumers have helped keep BSE from entering the United States," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman."

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 01/02/04: "Right now you'd have a hard time finding a federal agency more completely dominated by the industry it was created to regulate.... The Agriculture Department has a dual, often contradictory mandate: to promote the sale of meat on behalf of American producers and to guarantee that American meat is safe on behalf of consumers."
    ["The Cow that Jumped over the U.S.D.A." - Op-ed by Eric Schlosser in the NY Times

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 02/14/01: WashDC: "Dale Moore Named Veneman Chief of Staff. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman has named Dale Moore to be her Chief of Staff. Prior to joining USDA, Moore served as the Executive Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Moore has also served on the House Committee on Agriculture as former legislative director."

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 10/12/01: WashDC: "Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced the selection of Alisa Harrison as Deputy Director of Communications and Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prior to her appointment, Harrison served as the Executive Director of Public Relations for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). NCBA, a consumer focused, producer-directed organization that represents the largest segment of the nation’s food and fiber industry, is also the marketing organization and trade association for America’s cattle ranchers and feeders. At NCBA, Harrison managed all media relations and public relations activities designed to support consumer marketing and public policy goals."

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 02/20/03: WashDC: "Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced the selection of Floyd D. Gaibler as Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, Michael K. Torrey as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations and Tom Douglas Sell as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Gaibler brings to USDA more than 27 years of experience working on agricultural concerns, nine of those for USDA. He has served as Vice President of the Agricultural Retailers Association, Vice President of the International Dairy Foods Association, and Executive Director of the National Cheese Institute/American Butter Institute. Torrey will replace Wanda Worsham, who will retire at the end of April after a career dedicated to agriculture. As deputy assistant secretary, Torrey will have responsibility for coordinating legislative affairs for USDA. He comes to USDA from the International Dairy Foods Association where he was Senior Director of Legislative Affairs."

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 01/06/04: "Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had a suggestion Monday for dinner: "Go buy a burger. Eat a steak." Sebelius' lighthearted message was a serious suggestion that consumers continue to eat beef despite the discovery last month of a cow infected with mad cow disease in Washington state. The governor made the remark as she signed a proclamation marking "American Beef Week." Sebelius said governors of Colorado, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas all signed similar proclamations to reassure consumers that the nation's beef supply remains safe. Those states are among 10 that are responsible for about 75 percent of the beef market in the United States, Sebelius said. "We all recognize that it's not only significant for our economies, but it's a key part of the diet of Americans," she said. "Hopefully, Kansas and American consumers will continue to buy and eat beef.

    [Posted 01/10/04]
    : 01/06/04: WashDC: "To protect Americans’ health and prevent further damage to U.S. cattle markets, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) today announced he will soon introduce a bill to require that all cows bound for human consumption be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as Mad Cow disease. “Testing every cow will help us to better understand this disease and help to guarantee American families that the beef they eat is safe,” said Miller, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee.“ The steps taken so far by the USDA, including the plan to remove downer cows from herds, do not provide that guarantee.” He added, “In addition, we need to act quickly to restore America’s access to international beef markets, which have begun to shut out American beef.” “The testing of every cow is a system that exists today with great confidence to the consumer in Japan and parts of Europe,” said Miller. “It can be implemented in the U.S. quickly, inexpensively, and with little disruption to industry, and we ought to do it immediately.

    [Posted 01/10/04]
    : 01/04: "Last year, the USDA tested only 19,990 cattle believed to be at risk for Mad Cow Disease, out of a population of about 96 million or 1 out of every 5,000 cattle. By contrast in Europe, every single animal above a given age gets tested for this fatal brain-wasting disease (one out of every four cattle)."
    [Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D):

    [Posted 01/10/04]: 01/04: "When Congress returns I intend to introduce legislation that will:
    - Prohibit meat from downer cattle from entering the human food supply;
    - Test all downer cattle using modern rapid quick tests (estimates range from 190,000 to 970,000 cattle);
    - Establish a mandatory trace back system for all bovines;
    - Require mandatory recall of food products infected;
    - Prohibit the feeding of the remains of any mammal to any animals that humans eat;
    - Tighten the law on dietary supplements, which currently allow supplements to contain CNS tissue;
    - Require doctors and hospitals to report all cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob [CJD] to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    [Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D):

[Posted 12/28/03]: 12/26/03: "The Politics Of Cattle Slaughter: The "mad-cow" threat to public health and the potential economic disaster that now looms could have been prevented if the U.S. Congress, the Department of Agriculture, and the American beef and dairy industries had agreed to a single, simple step: Ban the slaughter of diseased cattle for human consumption. Animal-welfare and food-consumer groups have long warned that the agriculture department has been playing Russian roulette with the nation's meat supply by allowing "downer" animals — cattle too sick to stand or walk — to be slaughtered for human consumption. A 2001 study in Germany found that downed cows were up to 240 times more likely to test positive for BSE. Despite this known threat, an average of only 10 to 15 per cent of downers are tested for BSE in this country." (Wayne Pacelle is a senior vice-president of The Humane Society of the United States. www.hsus.org)
[Edited from:

[Posted 12/28/03]: 12/24/03: Mark Sherman, AP: "GOP Congress Scuttled Meat Protection Measure:" (by "Legislation to keep meat from downed animals off American kitchen tables was scuttled - for the second time in as many years - as Congress labored unsuccessfully earlier this month to pass a catchall agency spending bill. Now, in the wake of the apparent discovery of the first mad-cow case in the United States, the author of the House version of the cattle provision wants to press the issue anew when Congress returns Jan. 20 from its winter recess. "I said on the floor of the House that you will rue the day that because of the greed of the industry to make a few extra pennies from 130,000 head, the industry would sacrifice the safety of the American people," said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., chief House sponsor. "It's so pound foolish." The provision dealing with downed cattle didn't even make it into the compromise version of the legislation that House and Senate conferees brought before Congress late in the year." [Edited from:

[Posted 12/25/03]: "USDA Refused To Release Mad Cow Records:" 12/23/03: WashDC, Dec. 23, '03 (UPI) -- "The United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, but for six months the agency repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International. The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July. In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals." [Full article: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20031223-103657-3424r]

[Posted 12/28/03]: "USDA Makes Preliminary Diagnosis Of BSE:" (USDA Press Release) Dec. 23, 2003–Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has diagnosed a presumptive positive case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an adult Holstein cow in the state of Washington.“Despite this finding, we remain confident in the safety of our beef supply,” Veneman said. “The risk to human health from BSE is extremely low.” BSE is a progressive neurological disease among cattle that is always fatal. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Also included in that family of illnesses is the human disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), which is believed to be caused by eating neural tissue, such as brain and spinal cord, from BSE-affected cattle."[Edited from:

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