Mad Cow USA

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You may purchase a copy of *Mad Cow USA by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber online at

Also see Mad cow disease, Mad Cow Canada

Mad cow disease was first identified in the United States on 23 December 2003:

"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."
"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."
"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."

Thirds Reported Case Of Mad Cow

"Despite the confirmation of a third case of mad cow disease" in the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) "intends to scale back testing for the brain-wasting disorder blamed for the deaths of more than 150 people in Europe," reports Libby Quaid. The USDA's John Clifford mentioned the decrease in testing when he announced the latest mad cow case, in an Alabama animal. The lower testing levels haven't been finalized, "but the department's budget proposal calls for 40,000 tests annually," or one-tenth of one percent of U.S. cattle slaughtered. Consumer Union's Jean Halloran called the reduction "a policy of don't look, don't find." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Gary Weber said, "The consumers we've done focus groups with are comfortable that this is a very rare disease." The Christian Science Monitor notes that current, higher testing levels are "far lower than the percentage tested in Europe or Japan." The new case of mad cow may delay the opening of Asian markets to U.S. beef. [

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External links

The following are links for articles on Mad Cow USA:

  • 24 December 2003: "USDA Refused to Release Mad Cow Records" by Steve Mitchell, UPI: "Although the United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, the agency for six months repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International. ... The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July. ... In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals."
  • 25 December 2003: "Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent" by Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times: "Ever since he identified the bizarre brain-destroying proteins that cause mad cow disease, Dr. Stanley Prusiner, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, has worried about whether the meat supply in America is safe."
  • 27 December 2003: "GOP Congress Scuttled Meat Protection Measure" by Mark Sherman, AP: "Legislation to keep meat from downed animals off American kitchen tables was scuttled - for the second time in as many years - as Congress labored unsuccessfully earlier this month to pass a catchall agency spending bill. ... Now, in the wake of the apparent discovery of the first mad-cow case in the United States, the author of the House version of the cattle provision wants to press the issue anew when Congress returns Jan. 20 from its winter recess."
  • 27 December 2003: "Mad cow probe faces challenges" by Raja Mishra, Boston Globe: "Federal officials said yesterday that it may take them months to determine where and how an infected Washington state cow contracted mad cow disease, as spotty record keeping on US farms hamper their search. ... Locating the source of the fatal brain-wasting disease now tops the USDA's agenda, but the agency announced yesterday actions designed to stanch the erosion of public confidence in the food supply and assist beef industry officials facing financial losses from this week's discovery. Government officials said the number of cattle tested for mad cow during the next fiscal year would nearly double, to 38,000 from 20,600 -- still a fraction of the roughly 50 million US cows slaughtered annually for food."
  • 27 December 2003: "Calves of infected cow quarantined," Chicago Sun-Times: "U.S. agriculture officials said Friday they have quarantined the offspring of the slaughtered Holstein cow that tested positive for mad cow disease. ... The government was trying to reassure the public about the safety of the U.S. food supply even as it confronted a ban on U.S. beef by countries that account for 90 percent of exports. ... The recall of more than 10,000 pounds of meat from the cow and others slaughtered Dec. 9 at the same Washington company also was continuing."
  • 29 December 2003: "Bush Administration Pressured on Beef Safeguards" by Charles Abbott and Randy Fabi, Reuters.
  • 30 December 2003: "Mad Cow USA: The Nightmare Begins" by John Stauber, AlterNet.
  • 31 December 2003: "Edmonton Plant, U.S. Mad Cow May Be Linked," AP.
  • 31 December 2003: "It's the Cow Feed, Stupid!" by John Stauber, Common Dreams.
  • 1 January 2004: "For Cattle Industry, a Swift Response Years in the Making" by Glen Justice, New York Times.
  • 1 January 2004: "US rules out blanket mad cow testing," Reuters: "The United States Government says there is no need to test all US cattle for mad cow disease because its new safeguards should satisfy American consumers and trading partners that US beef is safe to eat."
  • 2 January 2004: "The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A." by Eric Schlosser, New York Times Op-Ed.

In March 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced plans to test hundreds of thousands of cattle over a 12 to 18 month period. USDA Chief Veterinary Officer Ron DeHaven indicated the goal was 201,000 to 268,000 cattle, but later admitted: "For me to predict how many samples we will be able to collect in a new program that we don't have any experience from would simply be a wild guess." [1]

Japanese officials said the new testing was not sufficient to lift their ban on U.S. beef. In Britain, "a sensible precautionary measure" was passed blocking anyone who received a transfusion since 1980 from donating blood. In December, a death from vCJD, the human form of mad cow disease, was traced to an infected blood donor. [2]

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