Sunday, December 28


As could be predicted, the USDA's strategy for containing the Mad Cow bombshell is to point fingers somewhere else - not in any meaningful sense, of course (i.e. with peer-reviewed evidence), only as a means of temporary distraction. Temporary, that is, and specifically timed for when the US stock exchanges open on Monday morning. Whether or not the cow turns out to actually be from Canada (and isn't it funny that just 36 hours ago it was likely to take "weeks" to definitively track down where the cow came from?), if that "good news" is the story of record on Monday morning, the chance of a beef market crash is limited. Very savvy.

Meanwhile, of course, the question of the cow's birthplace is utterly irrelevant to the danger posed to Americans. 'Mad Cow in the US' doesn't just mean a sick cow happened to wander across our national border. In this case, it means a cow was raised for meat here in the US, was slaughtered here, was sold as meat to consumers in several US states, and was almost certainly unknowingly eaten by US consumers. No birthplace-switcheroo is going to change that. If only that continues to happen, US beef is still in a heap of trouble.

For one thing, this development has got some families of CJD victims openly questioning whether the human form of the disease has already hit the United States, noting that the government has been "lax in its testing possible links and enforcing safety standards." And the lie that there's "no evidence" the disease can be found outside of brain and spinal tissue is being publicly debunked: "Cattle tissues known to carry the infectious agents behind mad cow disease are making it into the nation's meat supply despite industry and government claims to the contrary," notes the Rocky Mountain News.

Additionally, the New York Times is slowwwwly starting to look into how thoroughly our beef-money-saturated public legislature has fallen down on the job. In a Sunday spread, the Times notes - without quite connecting the dots - that Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Stanley Prusiner (who won for discovering the prions behind BSE and CJD) has long said Mad Cow was already here and we should be vigourously testing for it. So did politicians listen to the world's greatest expert on the disease (who also opines in the Times article that the USDA still "believes its own propaganda," and that using cow blood as a milk replacer is "a really stupid idea") in determining industry safeguards? No, what would he know? They listened to folks like US Rep. Charles W. Stenholm (D-Texas), a rancher himself, who claimed that the government's screening program was tight enough to prevent any problems, and baldly stated that a downer cow in a photo "will never find its way into the food chain. Period."

This is the way it's been - actual scientific experts such as Dr. Michael Greger, who lays out all the facts and documentation of how sloppy, unreliable and dangerous this system is, were largely ignored because after all, their judgement was clouded by their ties to the organic food movement and their veganism. But someone who stands to make money off of continued bad practices, who stands there and lies outright to the American public in order to keep profiting from animal slaughter, that's an "objective" source. This happens across the board, and if it changes even slightly because of this news, that will at least be one silver lining - for America, that is, not for US Beef, which I must again point out is a separate entity.

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