Thursday, July 21


Here's a story that went under the radar: "A key lawmaker is raising concerns that farmers and ranchers are burying dead cattle rather than sending them to processing plants where they would be tested for mad cow disease." OK, the lawmaker is Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the senior Democrat on the House agricultural appropriations sub-committee - but since she's a Democrat, pundits wrote this off as more partisan bickering.

Yet buried in the story is this tiny nugget: "Critics of the testing program, including the department's own inspector general, have said the testing is missing many high-risk cattle, including those that are disposed of on farms." Um, whazzat? The USDA INSPECTOR GENERAL has said that high-risk cattle are not being tested? No word on wether she concurs with this specific claim: DeLauro said in a letter this week to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns that "evidence is mounting" that the high-risk cattle the USDA claims to be testing "are really being disposed of on ranches and farms across the country."

As usual, this question has been ignored by the mainstream press. It might be good to get some answers on whether this is happening, don'tcha think?

UPDATE 7/22: Just noticed this story that's somewhat related - Like the US, the UK may not have succeeded banning ruminant feed back in the '90s. "A cluster of cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Mad cow disease, has raised fears that contaminated feed is still being used in Britain. Three young dairy cows born long after the 1996 ban on contaminated feed are the second such BSE cluster found in England. Scientists said the occurrence of a second cluster of BSE in young cattle strongly suggests the cases were not a statistical fluke and contaminated feed caused the outbreaks."

UPDATE 7/23: Now that the U.S.-Canada border is reopened, there's still more agita: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is questioning the legality of an order by Gov. Brian Schweitzer that would result in a $3 to $5 fee on Canadian cattle crossing the border destined for Montana. Schweitzer said on Thursday that he would require additional checks by veterinarians now that cattle shipments from Canada have resumed, and he estimated the cost would be $3 to $5 a head. He cited lingering concerns about importing cattle from a country that has reported three cases of mad cow disease during the past two years." Riiiiiight. Because that's so different from a country that has reported two cases of mad cow disease during the past two years! US ranchers, get wise now: The calls are coming from inside the house.

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