The United States Department of Agriculture has rejected a call for an outright ban on all “downer” cows in our food supply. Why is this important? Because studies have shown that “downer” cows have a much higher risk of getting and transmitting Mad Cow Disease:
Government regulations prohibit slaughtering cattle for food if the animals cannot stand or walk on their own… Cows that cannot stand up are supposed to be kept out of the food supply in part because they may be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. The disease is extremely rare in the United States, but of the 15 cases documented in North America, most in Canada, the majority have been traced to downer cattle. Washington Post.
Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher risk of contamination from E. coli, salmonella or mad cow disease because they typically wallow in feces and their immune systems are often weak. Yahoo News
So why was this ban even brought up by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee? Because of that huge beef recall that started on February 18, which was apparently set off by sick cows in the Chino, CA based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., where undercover video “showed workers kicking, shocking and otherwise abusing “downer” animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats, San Bernardino County prosecutor Michael Ramos said.” Sounds fun. And then we get to eat them…yum!
But even after the video tape of the abuse of the “downer” cows came out, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer “told Congress yesterday that he would not endorse an outright ban on “downer” cows entering the food supply or back stiffer penalties for regulatory violations by meat-processing plants in the wake of the largest beef recall in the nation’s history.”
He must have a very big back pocket for all that lobby money to fit in, no? I mean, I am just assuming that would be why someone would actually choose to allow meat from very sick cows into our food supply.
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