Monday, May 3


Here's the source of the "rumor" mentioned in Saturday's entry: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not test a head from a cow in Texas that displayed central nervous symptoms even though such symptoms could be associated with mad cow disease, USDA officials said on [*COUGH!*] Friday. A USDA spokesman said the animal was exhibiting "central nervous signs" but for some reason it never got tested. More on this as it develops.

UPDATE 5/4: "The recent case of a Texas cow that had symptoms of mad cow disease but was not tested is not an isolated event, a federal veterinarian told UPI. The U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian who requested anonymity said cows displaying central nervous system disorders, such as the one in Texas, are often not tested for mad cow disease." Felicia Nestor of the GAO also said she had evidence that the Texas case "is not an isolated incident." More to come, I'm sure...

UPDATE 5/5: Yep. The longer, next-day UPI-branded version includes such gems as "Sometimes Veterinary Services (the USDA branch responsible for picking up brains for mad cow testing) won't even show up," a veterinarian told UPI. "If you tell them the cow is under 30 months (old), they won't bother with it." Also, since the carcass was sent to a rendering plant, it could still pose a BSE danger through the many products that are still made with cow remains - including animal feed! Michael Hansen pointed out that "blood from the Texas cow is still permitted to go into calf milk replacer, Hansen said. In addition, its brain and spinal cord -- the most infectious parts if the animal had mad cow -- can be added to chicken feed, he said. This poses a risk because chicken litter waste, which can contain some remnants of chicken feed, can be scooped up and incorporated into cattle feed."

ALSO: Only three cows have been tested for mad cow disease over the past two years at the Texas plant where federal testing policies for the deadly disease were breached last week, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture testing records obtained by UPI. The small number of tests occurred despite the fact that the plant, Lone Star Beef in San Angelo, Texas, processes older, dairy cows, which are considered to hold a high risk of being infected. Lone Star is the 18th largest slaughterhouse in the country and processed about 350,000 animals over the two-year period. ...This would make it one of the highest-risk plants in the country for receiving a mad cow, said. The low number of mad-cow tests at a high-risk plant such as Lone Star, indicates "the USDA doesn't want to find the disease," Lester Friedlander charged.

No comments: