Wednesday, February 25, 2004

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Dave Louthan, the guy who killed the mad cow in Washington State, has been insisting it wasn't a "downer." A UPI story from a couple of days ago says he might be right -- and that means our detection systems may not be working very well:

U.S. Department of Agriculture documents uncovered by United Press International provide new evidence the cow that tested positive for mad cow disease in Washington last December was healthy and not a "downer," as the agency has maintained.

...Last week, the House Committee on Government Reform sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, asking her to respond to the accounts of three eyewitnesses present at Vern's Moses Lake Meats in Moses Lake, Wash., where the cow was slaughtered Dec. 9, and other documents it uncovered indicating the cow was not a downer.

UPI has uncovered additional documents that provide further support the cow was walking at the time of inspection.

The documents indicate that a test for illegal antibiotics and a temperature reading are required to be performed on all downer animals. However, neither test was conducted, suggesting the animal was not a downer.

The adequacy of USDA's mad cow surveillance program hinges on resolving the downer dispute. The agency's program tests only downer cattle and those showing signs of central nervous system problems because these are the most likely to be infected. However, European inspectors have found hundreds of infected cows that did not display any symptoms....

Read the story. What the Department of Agriculture wants you to believesure doesn't seem to be the whole truth.

(Thanks to INTL-News for the link.)

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