An alarming, but not surprising, investigation in today's Vancouver Sun illustrates why the mad cow feed rules in both Canada and the US are completely inadequate.
The paper reports that “secret tests on cattle feed conducted by a federal agency
earlier this year found more than half contained animal parts not listed in
the ingredients, according to internal documents obtained by the Vancouver
Sun. The test results raise questions about whether rules banning the
feeding of cattle remains to other cattle -- the primary way in which mad
cow disease is spread -- are being routinely violated. ... Controlled experiments have shown an animal needs to consume as little as one milligram -- about the size of a grain of sand -- of material
contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to develop the
Sheldon Rampton and I reported in our 1997 book Mad Cow USA how Britain learned a decade ago that nothing less than a total ban on feeding animal by-products to livestock can stop the spread of mad cow
disease. Canada and the US are still legally feeding billions of pounds a
year to cattle as fat and protein supplement. As the Vancouver Sun article reveals, even
feed marked as "vegetable" is contaminated with animal byproducts.
December 23, 2004, is the first anniversary of the
announcement of the US mad cow. Since then the few steps taken by the US
government have been completely inadequate, even though the USDA's own
expert panel concluded last February that mad cow disease has been spreading
and amplifying in US feed for many years.
The weaning of calves on cattle blood remains legal and widespread. Cattle
blood and fat are fed legally to cattle. Cattle are legally fed to pigs and
chickens which are in turn legally fed back to cattle. The USDA will sue
any company privately testing for mad cow disease. The USDA's own testing
program is inadequate and has no transparency. The recent announcement that
a suspect cow was eventually found negative has not been confirmed or
verified outside of the USDA and therefore should not be trusted.
One year after the US mad cow, the crisis continues while industry and
government attempt to sweep it under the rug.
John Stauber founded the Center for Media and Democracy . He and Sheldon Rampton have co-authored fivebooks including Mad Cow USA which seven years ago predicted that the fatal human and animal brain disease would occur in North America.
© 2004 PRWatch.org