<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Cover-up? You decide... 

Have you heard about the cow found at the Lone Star Beef plant in San Angelo, Texas that may have had BSE? We will apparently never know whether or not it did because they decided not to test the cow, even though it was showing symptoms of BSE, like displaying central nervous system problems of staggering and falling.

Yep, you read that right. They decided not to test it. Interesting, huh? Scary, too. Really makes you want to go chow down on a burger, huh? NOT!

According to this article, when the USDA was asked why the cow was not tested, they had this informative answer: "I don't know." Well, doesn't that make you feel all safe and secure? But, they were quick to make the point that it hadn't gone into the human food chain. Instead, it was sent for rendering. So, I guess it could be fed to your pets, anyway, although they say that they will feed it to pigs. Oh, well then, that makes me feel better. No harm done, except to their credibility, of course.

Of course, various groups were all over this, with people pointing out that it looked like the USDA didn't test it because they didn't want to find another case of BSE. That's pretty much what I believe, too. In my opinion, that's also a big part of why they wouldn't let Creekstone or Gateway do 100% testing. Well, that and the fact that the bigger producers would feel pressured to do the same or face the loss of confidence in the safety of their "product."

The vast majority of people have said that they are willing to pay as much as 10 cents a pound more for beef that has been tested. so, if the consumers are willing to pay, then why not do it? Because they don't want to find another case. That would be devastating to the industry.

And, this particular incident proves that theory pretty well, I think. I mean, this is exactly the type of high-risk cow that they are supposed to focus their testing on. The plant where it was observed by the inspectors to be showing the central nervous system problems rightly held it for between 90 minutes to 2 hours for testing, just as they are supposed to. But then, they were told by some yet unnamed individual higher up not to do it, so they did as they were told and sent it to the rendering facility. Of course, no one seems to know exactly who gave that order, and they are doing this big investigation to find out.

Yeah right. No one knows. I just find that hard to believe. What about you?

The most information we can get is that the decision was made by an APHIS inspector in Austin, Texas. But, admittedly, the rules were followed by the inspectors in the plant, as they did report it and hold it for testing until they were overruled by the higher-up inspector in Austin.

It makes me worry about how many more are out there that may have it that aren't being tested since they apparently don't want to find another case that would make the industry lose so much money. Meanwhile, the administration is still trying to convince other countries, like Japan, that our beef is safe and that we do enough testing to find BSE if it exists, which of course, they say it doesn't.

Well, I can imagine how much this incident will restore their confidence.

Can anyone say cover-up?
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