Wednesday, April 21


As you'll recall, the USDA rejected the Creekstone Farms testing plan on the grounds it was scientifically unsound. USDA spokeswoman Alisa Harrison told UPI the agency's rationale for prohibiting Creekstone from testing younger animals is "the scientific evidence is there that you can't find it (mad cow disease) in animals under 30 months." But Steve Mitchell has found a funny detail - "In 2002, the agency tested 999 animals under 30 months old, including one as young as 3 months. The bulk, 841, were 24 months old, but 40 were 20 months, 31 were 18 months, 52 were 12 months and there were single cases of cows as young as 9, 8, 6 and 3 months old. In addition, in 2002, of the approximately 20,000 cows tested, 111 animals have no age listed at all and more than 11,000 are classified only as adults with no specific age given." In other words, the USDA's own testing policy includes thousands upon thousands of tests that it says are a waste of time. One ranchers advocate remarked that "To test that many young animals does not appear to reflect an agency that is actually after the high-risk population." Asked why the agency tested thousands of animals under that age, Alisa Harrison replied, "I don't know."

See, that's why she gets the big bucks: Grace under pressure.

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