Friday, May 7


...but not for the reason they should - persistent animal cruelty and depravation of life. Rather, "executives at three major beef-packing companies could face jail if they don't provide financial statements by Monday to a federal committee looking into whether the industry profited from the mad cow crisis." Profit? Ya think?

Thursday, May 6


Charlie Bell, 43, who became CEO of McDonald's two-and-a-half weeks ago when his predecessor collapsed and died of a sudden heart attack, has colon cancer, the company admitted today, and just underwent surgery for it. This comes on the same day that Slate's David Edelstein delivered a ringing endorsement of Super Size Me, which chronicles the amazingly unhealthy effects of a McDonald's diet. Edelstein's only quibble: "I don't think anyone should sue McDonald's. Just stop buying its food." OK, but why not... both?


"A new study shows chronic wasting disease can spread through environmental contamination and not just animal-to-animal contact, a finding that could change the way experts fight the ailment. The study, published in the online edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, also suggests that chronic wasting outbreaks could last longer than previous models projected." Huh. Wonder if this will make people pay any more attention to "alarmists" like Stauber and Greger. I won't hold my breath.

Wednesday, May 5


Heidi Prescott puts it best: "We have minimum ages for driving, voting, and drinking because we recognize that children don't have the emotional maturity to engage in those activities safely. Why should we think that children are able to make split-second decisions about firing a long-range, high-powered rifle under circumstances that have their adrenaline pumping? It's insane."

13-year-old Michael Lynn Russell was killed by a gunshot wound to the back of the head late last month. "We still don't know what happened. It was an accident," said his mother of Michael's tragic bird hunting trip with an 11-year-old cousin at a ranch in Texas.

Tuesday, May 4


Karen Davis published Poisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs seven years ago, but even she may not have been aware of the quantity of literal poison in this supposed food source. "A prominent researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says the poultry industry's widespread use of drugs to raise chickens is exposing people who eat them to more arsenic than previously estimated. In a paper published yesterday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, Ellen K. Silbergeld said arsenic-laced drugs designed to keep the birds healthy might pose an increased risk of cancer for consumers and create manure that is contaminating Eastern Shore ground water. Silbergeld's research essentially disputed the conclusions of a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, released in the journal in January, which concluded that the drugs did not pose a serious health problem. She said the USDA underestimated the amount of arsenic found in chickens and used outdated data to estimate the health risks of ingesting arsenic. 'This paper had serious problems,' Silbergeld said of the USDA report."

Silbergeld, a toxicologist who won a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant in 1993, said arsenic in chicken feed creates potential problems in the meat produced and the ground water affected by the waste. In case you're not paying attention, "This is arsenic. We shouldn't lose sight of the sheer outrageousness of this," Silbergeld said.

And listen to these interesting word choices: "Tamar Lasky, an epidemiologist formerly with the USDA, now concedes that the estimates in her January study may have been low. Given its preliminary nature, she said, she may have erred on the side of caution." The side of caution! Meaning what? That they tried to keep people safe from poison? No - "We were deliberately conservative.[!] We didn't want to exaggerate the numbers and have people writing in the press that there are huge numbers, in terms of arsenic levels in chicken," said Lasky. No, that's definitely not what you'd want - truthful reports in the press about the risk of poison in a common food source. I guess the word "conservative" has been completely usurped by these idiots now.

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.