December 25, 2003

He called them "extremely disingenuous",

Here is an important story from America's best
newspaper...Uncontrollable, unpredictable forces may
influence the coming political battle. A doctor and a
general could be well-positioned...

Julian Borger, Guardian: However, her assurances that the outbreak would be contained were questioned by public health activist, John Stauber. He called them "extremely disingenuous", and pointed out Ms Veneman was a former lobbyist for the cattle industry. "I suggest this cow is the tip of an invisible iceberg," Mr Stauber, co-author of a book ( Mad Cow U.S.A.: Could the Nightmare Happen Here? ) about the threat of the disease, told CNN last night. "My presumption is mad cow disease is spread throughout North America at some level, but because our testing program is so inadequate we have not identified it."

Protect the Public Health, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1224-02.htm

Published on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 by the
Guardian/UK
First Case of Mad Cow Disease in US
by Julian Borger in Washington

The US government was yesterday scrambling to calm
public fears over its food supply after America's
first recorded case of mad cow disease was found in a
sick animal in Washington state.

Ann Veneman, agriculture secretary, said the positive
test for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) was
"presumptive" and would be confirmed in a British
laboratory. But she said the administration was
confident that the finding was accurate and had
already implemented measures to curb its spreading.

A sample was believed to be on its way to the World
Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, Surrey, where a
sample was sent from Canada in May after a BSE alert
there.

The US was last night notifying the country's trading
partners and Ms Veneman was not sure how they would
react.

However, she assured Americans: "The risk of spreading
is low based on the safeguards and controls we have
put in place." She said the risk of the disease
entering the human food chain was minimal. "I plan to
serve beef for my Christmas dinner and we remain
confident in our food supply," Ms Veneman said, in an
echo of the then British agriculture minister John
Selwyn Gummer's ill-fated ploy to have his young
daughter eat a hamburger on behalf of British beef in
1990.

The infected cow identified yesterday was a Holstein
which was tested because it was a "downer", unable to
walk, when it arrived at a Washington state
slaughterhouse. The meat from the cow was nevertheless
sent to a processing plant.

Agriculture department investigators were yesterday
urgently trying to track it down.

Ms Veneman said that only the "muscle cuts" had been
sent for processing for human consumption and there
was no record of the disease being transmitted through
the meat. The brain and spinal column had been sent to
a "rendering facility" elsewhere, but she did not
specify how it had been used.

The news hit an already nervous American public,
entering the Christmas holiday under a high state of
alert because of the risk of a new terrorist attack.
Ms Veneman felt it necessary to stress there was no
evidence of terrorism in the BSE incident.

However, her assurances that the outbreak would be
contained were questioned by public health activist,
John Stauber. He called them "extremely disingenuous",
and pointed out Ms Veneman was a former lobbyist for
the cattle industry. "I suggest this cow is the tip of
an invisible iceberg," Mr Stauber, co-author of a book
( Mad Cow U.S.A.: Could the Nightmare Happen Here? )
about the threat of the disease, told CNN last night.
"My presumption is mad cow disease is spread
throughout North America at some level, but because
our testing program is so inadequate we have not
identified it."

He said the US livestock industry, unlike its European
counterparts, continued to practice "animal
cannibalism".

An isolated case of BSE was identified in Canada in
May, but Ms Veneman said there was no immediate
evidence of a link with the cow identified yesterday.

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

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Posted by richard at December 25, 2003 11:53 AM