Friday, July 9


Another perfect two-step by our crafty government "regulators:" All week they've been saying the FDA was going to finally implement the rules proposed in January to stop Mad Cow from spreading. Today, Friday [COUGH] the FDA announced they would be delaying most of these critical safety measuresfor up to two years. The only thing they put in place was a ban on brains and spinal material in cosmetics and pills -though many in the credulous mainstream media headlined the story as though the FDA had come through with what they'd promised.

UPDATE 7/10: "Consumer groups are upset the government is delaying rules intended to keep the infectious agent for mad cow from getting into the feed given to livestock," says ABC News, providing the FDA's exact rationale: The agency "wanted to stop cattle blood from getting into livestock feed. Also targeted was poultry litter, which could contain spilled poultry feed made with cattle protein. On Friday, the agency said that in addition to those restrictions, it had developed new ones and wanted to study all of them as a package."


Michael Latting of Latting Rodeo Productions received a $300 fine and six months of court supervision last month for animal cruelty, namely using prods on bulls during a rodeo in 2003. The Illinois Department of Agriculture said it was the first such guilty plea in state history. A video shows Latting electrically prodding the animal while it was still in a holding chute at the rodeo. So after lying about having used the prod and getting caught, what does our cowboy do? Lie some more, of course! "Latting contends he used an electric prod without batteries. He said he pleaded guilty because it was the easiest way out." Oh, OK. That makes perfect sense. And by the way, "Grundy County Assistant State's Attorney Jack Schaller said the evidence against Latting comes from witness complaints and a private videotape made at the Morris rodeo. 'This is not a very common thing,' he said. 'It just doesn't happen, probably because it's still an agrarian area here and most people have an understanding and respect for their animals.'" Yep, nothing says respect for animals like events based on taunting and torturing them for people's amusement. Great point, Jack.
UPDATE 7/16: I heard from one of the folks involved in the videotaping of this rodeo, who reminds us, "we are alwayslooking for more volunteer abuse investigators around the country." Keeping in mind that this clear-cut case would likely have been no case without the video documentation, if you can weild a camcorder and have some spare time, send an e-mail or check for more info.

Thursday, July 8


At least, that would be as fair an inference from this story as the bogus correlation some attempt to draw between vegetarianism and same. "Out of 'sensitivity to their current situation,' the 'got milk?' magazine ads featuring twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been retracted. Mary-Kate recently entered a treatment program for what her publicist called a 'health-related issue.' People and Us Weekly magazines have reported the 18-year-old actress has an eating disorder." Note that when the ad was launched, Mary-Kate said "We wanted to appear in this ad because we love the campaign and we want to help make sure our fans are healthy like us." No thanks, Mary-Kate.

Wednesday, July 7


A study on 3,000 Greek men and women in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that "some of the benefits of a Mediterranean-type diet -- rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and olive oil and light on red meat -- may stem from the diet's effect on inflammation." Reuters spells out that "a Mediterranean-style diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. It includes few saturated fats like the ones in red meat but plenty of healthier fatty acids like ones found in olive oil," and that inflammation is a prime suspect in a number of health problems, including heart disease. More impressively, to make sure that the low levels inflammation "were truly related to diet and were not a reflection of better overall health, the researchers accounted for many other factors, including physical activity, smoking, age, gender, socioeconomic status and several health conditions. Even after taking into account the other factors, the Mediterranean diet was still associated with lower levels of inflammation and blood-clotting markers."

Tuesday, July 6


As expected (or, at least, predicted), both BSE tests from last week turned out to be false alarms. So the talking point now is that everything's fine on the Mad Cow front, and the only danger is in scaring the public with news of initial tests. But there are just a few other factors to take into consideration.

For one thing, it has just emerged that France had a Mad Cow epidemic for over a decade that went unnoticed due to arrogance and bad policy. UPI reports that "more than 300,000 cows" contracted BSE, with "almost 50,000 severely infected animals entering the food chain." The report by French researchers shows that "while French politicians blamed Britain for the emergence of the disease — and attempted to create a cordon by banning imports of British beef — they failed to adopt measures to prevent a hidden epidemic at home."

Boy, those goofy French, huh? Banning imports, but not adopting their own safety measures. Huh. Oh, by the way, while the USDA selectively bans imports of Canadian beef, our country's own anti-BSE measures, announced on Jan. 26 by the FDA, have still not been adopted. So "brains, spinal cords and other tissues known to harbor the highest concentrations of brain-destroying agents" are still going into foods, dietary supplements and cosmetics, as is material from downers; poultry litter collected in hen houses -- "typically comprising feces and contaminated feed" -- is still being eaten by cows; and cow blood is still being fed to calves. But that's all irrelevant, 'cause there's no more Mad Cow here to be spread around...

Or is there? According to Robert LaBudde, president a food industry consultancy in Virginia Beach, we'll probably see around 100 more cases of Mad Cow here - and half of those "will go undetected and passed on for human consumption." Only about half the cases will be detected because many animals will not show any symptoms, LaBudde said. This is based on the experience in Europe, where half the animals that test positive have no outward symptoms of infection, he added. Oh, please. Since when do we give any credence to anything coming out of Old Europe?