Powered by Blogger

Who links to me?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush's Beef Incompetence Will Kill You

As many of you know, I do not eat beef. I have not eaten beef at all in a year and I have only eaten it a couple times since the first US cow tested positive for mad cow disease in late 2003. I write this article today for one reason: to save the lives of the loyal readers of the War on Corporate Evil.

The U.S. beef supply is extremely at risk for mad cow disease. Before I carefully document the reasons why eating beef is like having unprotected sex, let me explain what mad cow disease does to you. According to the FDA, Mad Cow Disease is the commonly used name for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a slowly progressive, degenerative, fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of adult cattle. Humans who eat cows infected with BSE can get Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD). It is a brain wasting disease similar to Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms begin with memory loss and mood changes. Soon people have trouble walking and speaking; soon after that they can no longer do either. Within six months to two years after symptoms first appear, the infected person will certainly die. There is no surviving CJD. The disease basically drives holes in your brain and turns it into a spongy material, hence the word "Spongiform."

The FDA, the Bush administration and the corporate beef producers all publicly claim that the public is at no risk for mad cow disease. This conclusory statement, however, finds no basis in fact. Just as Bush was incompetent at preventing 9/11, as he was incompetent at helping Katrina survivors, as he was incomptent in launching the Iraq war, Bush has been similarly incompetent in dealing with mad cow. Perhaps this is a calculated move that results from the Bush administration's close ties to the beef industy. First rule of Republican governance -- do not piss off those who line your pockets.

So why are we at risk for mad cow disease?

1. The USDA allows cows to eat slaughterhouse waste, blood and manure. The WHO says that allowing cows to each such filth creates the possibility of mad cow infection.

2. The USDA forbids the entrance of highly infectious parts of cows such as the brain and the spinal cord into the food chain. However a recent US government audit demonstrated that the USDA's inadequate record keeping makes it unclear if all beef producers are actually following these regulations. At the very least it's clear that some beef producers are simply violating the USDA's regulations and allowing these parts to enter the food chain.

3. The USDA only tests so-called "downer" cows for mad cow disease. "Downers" are cows so sick they are unable to walk or stand. The problem, however, is that mad cow symptoms normally take 5 years to appear post-infection. Unfortunately, less than half of US cows reach their fourth birthday when slaughtered, let alone 5 years after infection. The bottom line: cows who are not "downers" can have mad cow disease and the USDA doesn't test any of them for mad cow disease. If they have it, you are gonna get it.

4. To combine points 2 and 3, the government only removes the brain and spinal cord from cows aged 30 months and older. Since mad cow symptoms take 5 years to appear, this means that cows 30 monts and younger (who are never tested for mad cow disease) are not only allowed in the food chain but the most infectious parts of these cows are allowed in the food chain as well.

5. Although the USDA forbids the entrance of "downer" cows into the food chain, that same government audit report proves that at least 20 downer cows were illegally entered into the food chain. These were no accidents either -- these cows are obviously downers because they can't walk. Beef producers launched a massive enterprise to illegally get these deadly cows into our food chain through the use of forklifts and rails above the pens. The USDA is responsible because their shoddy record keeping, lack of adequate inspections and buddy-buddy relationship with the beef producers has allowed these deplorable crimes to occur.

Rational, thinking people can only eat beef by ignoring all of this evidence. No reasonable individual can eat beef and think they are not risking their lives every time they do. Make no mistake about it, I love the taste of beef. I have no moral qualms about eating beef either; cows look like walking hunks of food to me and are dumb as dirt. I just don't eat beef because I want to live. Exposing US citizens to this deadly disease is a human rights violation that is being perpetrated in order to further the interests of massive corporations who are in bed with the Republican Party. For the GOP, that's business as usual.

If you must eat beef, buy only organic and research the beef producer to ensure they actually feed the cows quality materials. The Bush administration has relaxed the requirements for what it takes to call your food "organic," so many foods labeled organic can now be made with a certain percentage of non-organic ingredients. That's a whole other story, however.

Don't eat beef -- cut if out of your diet because your life isn't worth that cheeseburger.

Comments on ""


post a comment