The Bush administration has vowed that it will fight to keep meatpackers from voluntarily testing all of their cows for mad cow disease.
Currently, the Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows. Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of their cows, but larger meat companies have objected, fearing that they might need to test their own cows to stay competitive. The Agriculture Department has also argued that potential false positives could harm the meat industry. Meanwhile, the president, under pressure from the cattle industry, is serving more beef to various visiting foreign statesemen and lamenting that mad cow fears are preventing the Chinese from enjoying American beef: “They need to be eating US beef. It's good for them. They'll like it.”
rejects our food, shouldn’t we be worried?
Crazy Eyes Dolphin vs. The Mad Cows,
an animated short by Ian Stewart. Bum bum bum
GOP looking to repeal food labeling law.
Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
What do HIV, breast cancer, dental plaque, and stem cells all have in common? Why, you can wear them! as a tie
, a lovely scarf
, or even underwear
! The Infectious Awearables
collection will definitely be catching...spreading like an epidemic...infectious and charming! (via Blue's News)
The White House wants to decide
what, and when, the public would be told about an outbreak of mad cow disease, an anthrax release, a nuclear plant accident or any other crisis. Instead of the federal agencies responsible for public health, safety and the environment, the bad news would be in the hands of this guy,
whose Harvard Center for Risk Analysis famously "proved" that talking on cell phones while driving is no safety concern,
and that there was "very little risk that American cattle will contract mad cow disease
or that the disease would ever pose a public health problem for people."
After reading that beef has been recalled
from my local grocery store, I spent some time reading Mad Cow USA
a book written back in 1997 but not widely published because of fears of repercussions under the Texas food disparagement act. AlterNet has an article
written by one of the book's authors summarizing some of the key points of the book. Some claim that only ground beef is infected, while others claim that's bull
has a lot of good information on the topic, and it seems the powers that be are going to blame Canada
Sure, but Do They Remember (for) You?
Noone should be too
(pdf) surprised if these controversial
proteins turn out to be involved in a lot more than Mad Cow disease, and maybe have some important biological roles. But storing memories for nerve cells? Wow.
It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
Alton Brown analyzes the current Mad Cow scare. If you watch FoodTV, you may have seen his show "Good Eats" or at least read a previous thread
. His rant reminds us that there are consequences to our lust of more for less.
"I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shoveled and shut up, but he didn't do that".
An annoyed Premier of Alberta Ralph Klein was quoted saying this on Sept 17th, 2003 at a weekend meeting of U.S. governors and western Canadian premiers in response to the discovery of one case of mad-cow found in his province.
Fast forward to today: USDA refused to release mad cow records
, United Press has been requesting these documents since July 10th, 2003 and has been continually stonewalled as recently as Dec 17th ,2003. Especially troubling is the question of where the Canadian mad-cow possibly originated
The USDA has announced the first 'presumptive positive' result of a test of a cow for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, in Washington state. CNN hasn't caught up yet, but USDA themselves have a page
on the issue, as do the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, the EU
, and the World Health Organization
. My advice? Buy Chik-fil-A; sell Burger King. :-)
Now the bovines are talking back.
Foot-and-mouth disease marches forward
in Europe. In order to try to slow down the spread of the virus, UK authorities are urging cancellations of any events that bring people and/or animals together. Which means no horse racing. Which means the Brits are going insane because they have nothing to bet on. (Unlike the US, they don't consider gambling to be an evil on the level of homicide.) What to do? Rodents to the rescue
is offering live webcasts of hamster races to satiate your betting jones. Look at 'em go
! In other hamster news, some dork blew £3000 on a 6-foot-tall fiberglass hamster
left over from the carnage of the Millennium Dome.
Rethinking Mad Cow Disease
So ususually when I see a story about an "amateur scientist" who has an "alternative theory" to some issue, I get all gooshy inside waiting to see what insane theory it is this time, but this guy has what seems to be a very credible alternative explanation for BSE/CJD occurrences and some credible science to back him up.
Like the rest of Europe, Germany is going through a histrionic BSE scare. So Germans switched to sausage and pork. And then they were told pork contains anabolic steroids. So they switched to venison. And then they were told it might have BSE too. So the Germans, who hate veggies, are starting to "starve." And raid zoos for meat.
Hey, where'd all this paté come from?
In a long essay-review of the report of the official inquiry into mad cow disease,
the London Review of Books also points (but without helpful html coding) to the government site where the full text of the BSE Inquiry
and the supporting evidence can be found. You can download it as a PDF file if you like, for light reading with your next carrot juice and stir-fried tofu.
Mad Cow disease spreads through Europe.
Now as I understand it, cattle get it by eating food which contains parts of other cattle or sheep who had the disease.
The solution seems straightforward enough: stop using animal-derived ingredients in the food fed to cattle. SO WHY THE HELL ARE THEY STILL DOING IT? Why is this so complicated? Is there something I'm missing here?