Saturday, June 11, 2005

More Mad Cows In U.S.?

From Reuters:

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In what could be the second U.S. case of mad cow disease, an older beef animal tested positive for the deadly ailment but will undergo a last round of tests at a British laboratory to confirm the results, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said.

The only U.S. confirmed case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was found in December 2003 in a Washington state dairy cow. That discovery halted billions of dollars worth of American beef exports and raised questions about the safety of the U.S. food supply.

Johanns said the new suspect case involved an older beef animal chosen for testing because it was a 'downer' animal that could not walk when delivered for slaughter. The carcass never entered the human food or livestock feed supply, he said."

Interestingly enough, David Shuster of MSNBC addressed the possiblity of new mad cow cases because the Bush Administration refuses to force the cattle industry to take preventive measures to protect beef consumers. Here's what he had to say:

"At the moment, there appears to be an outbreak of mad cow disease in Japan... and American researchers are incredibly nervous that we may be on the verge of a deadly mad cow outbreak here in the United States. That’s what makes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s approach so troubling.

As it stands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture refuses to even consider the main recommendations put forward by the World Health Organization that have stopped mad cow disease across Europe. What are these recommendations? The first is testing. The other is to stop the practice of feeding cow blood, tissue, and slaughterhouse waste to other cows.
I can hear some of you now: 'Come on, Shuster, that feeding practice is so grotesque it couldn’t possibly be happening in the United States.'

Actually, it is happening a lot. Sure, there are some livestock producers who don’t give their animals the kind of feed that contains cow blood or waste. But many livestock producers do.
And the fact is, much of the commercially produced calf feed available today contains the very stuff that could spread mad cow disease throughout our food chain.

What is the Department of Agriculture doing about this? Nothing. As I said, the Department of Agriculture refuses to even consider stronger regulations that would put an end to this disgusting practice. But it gets even worse. The department is doing everything it can to assure the public that our food chain “is safe.” Thus, we have a ridiculous pep rally like the one on Thursday at the University of Minnesota. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will, as his press release says, 'hold a roundtable discussion regarding the safety of North American beef...' Those invited to participate include USDA officials, producers, packers, and others.
Who are the others? Groups that don’t want more testing and don’t want the government passing regulations that would make calf feed cleaner and thus slightly more expensive. In fact, consumer groups, organic livestock companies, and beef producers who oppose allowing cows to eat cow blood and slaughterhouse waste will not be allowed to participate.

The irony is that if the Department of Agriculture really cared about the U.S. meat industry, the department would add a little pain now to prevent the industry from being decimated down the road when an outbreak occurs and nobody wants to buy U.S. meat. But once again, it’s all about short-term profits and paying back your political contributors. And consumers are left holding the bag... or in this case, mourning the deaths of loved ones who could die suddenly from the human form of BSE."

Whoo-hoo!!! If we don't invite the opposition and if we silence all opposing viewpoints to our own, all the world's problems will go away!!!

That's what these morons are saying! It happened yesterday at the Patriot Act hearing in Congress when Chairman Sensenbrenner yanked the microphones from Democrats when the discussion veered from how great the preznit's War on Terror is to some of the problems being caused by the Guantanamo Bay, Prison. It happens when legitimate criticism is made about the administration's handling of the Iraq War, even when the criticism comes from fellow Republicans like John McCain or Richard Lugar. And it happens with scientific issues like global warming, mercury contamination of the water table, and now mad cow disease. The administration, like the preznit, only wants to hear what it already believes. No dissenting viewpoints wanted or allowed. And if you try to tell us what we don't want to hear, we'll take the microphone from you, as Sensenbrenner did to Dems yesterday at the Patriot Act hearing, or we'll have you arrested, as Bush did to anyone who showed up at one of his sham town hall meetings during the 2004 campaign or during his Social Security Bamboozlepalooza Tour 2005 and didn't stick to the propaganda script.

Yes, as I said earlier today, it makes you proud to be an American. Want some ketchup on that burger, Georgie?

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