Wednesday, February 18, 2004

anybody who knew anything about mad cow disease before the recent US scandal could tell that the USDA was trying to pull off a whitewash (or is that what they call a greenwash?) by repeatedly telling us how safe things are, but refusing to fix the enormous loopholes in the livestock industry that allow mad cow to spread.

now, congress has started to figure that out too. turns out that the infected cow found in december (allegedly the only infected cow in the continent, if you're gullible enough to believe that) wasn't a downer cow after all!

In their letter to Veneman, Davis and Waxman said they had reviewed affidavits or statements from Ellestad; from Randy Hull, who trucked the cow to slaughter; and from David Louthan, who killed the animal. All three said that the animal was ambulatory and showed no signs of sickness. While the statement from Hull is new, Ellestad told reporters at his slaughterhouse, Vern's Moses Lake Meats, that the animal was not a downer soon after the mad cow infection was found in December.

In their letter to Veneman, the committee leaders also reported that Ellestad provided a contract showing that he did not accept downer cows for slaughter, and Hull provided one saying that he did not haul them. The committee letter also introduced a Jan. 6 letter faxed by Ellestad to USDA officials in Boulder stating that the brainstem sample that tested positive for mad cow disease was not sent because the animal was a downer, but because of a preexisting contract that his business had with the USDA to provide a supply of brain tissue samples.

Davis and Waxman pointedly wrote that the Jan. 6 fax had not been released to Congress or the public, and concluded that "if it is confirmed the BSE-infected cow was not a downer, public confidence in USDA may suffer."

may suffer? i guess they're right because it depends on whether the general public ever actually hears that veneman & the usda are camped out deep inside the cattle industry's pockets...

so the cow wasn't a downer after all, & it was apparently sheer random luck that it ended up getting tested.

No comments: