Tuesday, December 30, 2003

from the you too might be a terrorist department: the fbi has issued an alert concerning the extreme dangers of people carrying almanacs! that's right, if the police pull you over & you happen to have an almanac with you, the gig will be up! the police will know you're a terrorist because why else would someone carry maps if they aren't going to bomb the shit out of some innocents?!?! the lesson is that you should be sure to hide all you almanacs before going out, preferably somewhere where it will never be found, like wherever saddam hid all his WMD...

there's so much spin going around about mad cow right now... the US insists that other countries shouldn't be boycotting US beef (even though we we stopped buying canadian beef the very second word got out about a canadian mad cow case back in may)... and the usda was quick to mention that it thinks the american mad cow was probably born in canada, as though that makes any difference.

the usda simultaneously (in the same article) says it "stands by" its mad cow procedures and that it will be "beefing up" its safety procedures.... but if you stand by them, why do they need to be improved?

pretty much every article mentions that because the infected cow's nervous system was separated from its muscle, nobody is at risk from eating the meat (muscle). now the evidence suggests that's true (assuming they did a good job separating the nervous system). & you're probably less at risk eating a big cut of meat like a steak than you are eating ground beef, sausage, or anything where you can't be totally sure there aren't ground up brains inside. but even as they talk about finding the feed that this cow was given, nobody dares to suggest the obvious conclusion that if one cow was infected, chances are pretty good that there are more infected cows out there who also ate the same feed... maybe just a handful, maybe thousands.

and right now the big mad cow angle is that the sick cow was born before the "feed ban" was implemented. this sounds good because it gives the impression that the feed ban (supposedly to stop animals from being forced to cannibalize) might actually be working. but not so many stories mention that the US feed ban is totally riddled with holes (for example, you can't just feed a steak to a cow, but calves are fed formula made of cattle blood & nerve cells... & while cattle feed can't contain beef, chicken feed can, & excess chicken feed can be sold as cattle feed.

ooh, and upi reports that they have been trying to get mad cow testing info from the usda for six months (according to federal FOI regulations they should've gotten the info within 30 days)... there are other goodies in the upi article, too, like the fact that we don't use the same tests europe does, as well as this juicy rumor:

He noted he had been informed that approximately six months ago a cow displaying symptoms suggestive of mad cow disease showed up at the X-cel slaughtering plant in Ft. Morgan.

Once cows are unloaded off the truck they are required to be inspected by USDA veterinarians. However, the cow was spotted by plant employees before USDA officials saw it and "it went back out on a special truck and they called the guys in the office and said don't say anything about this," Schwochert said.


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