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Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Mad government disease: US plans to reduce surveillance of cows


In a letter in today's Star-Bulletin, John A. Broussard of Kamuela, Hawaii alerts us that our government plans to respond to the crisis by reducing testing of herds.

Broussard concludes:
See how simple it is? The fewer the tests, the fewer mad cows we'll find. That's the solution brought to you by the same administration that saved New Orleans.
The public is on to this, of course, even if our government sides with the cattle industry. From an article on earthtimes.org:
Jane Halloran, a policy director for Consumer Union said such a step will have disastrous consequences. "The alternative is to put your head in the sand and ignore the problems," she said. The organization, which has asked the government to test all cattle over the age of 20 months at slaughter, said the 2007 fiscal budget provides enough funds to conduct only 40,000 tests, or about 0.1 per cent of the 35 million cattle slaughtered in the country in a year.
Is this serious? Yes. From the same article:
The disease had killed some 180,000 cows in the U.K. when there was an outbreak in 1986 and spread throughout Europe peaking in 1993. It is also termed as cause for deaths of some 150 humans. In the U.S. the first case was spotted in 2003, in Washington state in a Canadian-born cow. It was found again last June in a Texas cow.





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