<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Where Now Mad Cow? 

Before I get into the rest of today's post, a reader wrote in and brought something to my attention that she thought some of the rest of you may enjoy participating in. Here is what she sent:

Activist/Activist Linda Blair made a one-of-a-kind teddy bear, to be auctioned on eBay from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21. 100% of the proceeds will go to Save the Children (an awesome organization that could definitely use the boost in light of recent world events). The auction for her bear lasts through Friday the 21st. Here is the link: http://www.1800flowers.com/celebrityteddybears

A great thing to do. I love to see celebrities doing something good with their fame and money. I have noticed quite a but lately the number of them that are starting to stand up and speak out for animals. This is a great thing.

Now, on to what I wanted to bring to your attention today.

Unless you have been under a rock or just really not paying much attention lately, you are probably aware that there have been more cases of BSE in Canadian cattle and that some of the cows from the same herd that ate the same feed were shipped to feedlots here in the U.S. You are probably even aware of the fact that our whole policy has now changed with regard to the finding of mad cow with regard to imports from a country still finding cases. Gary Little, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said, "I think it's always been recognized that . . . there would be a small number of additional cases identified." And we have a new "minimal risk rule" that allows Canada top have up to 11 of them found positive, and we will still reopen our border on March 7.

And, not only are there mad cows being found, but feed rules are apparently being routinely violated north of the border. According to a letter that U.S. Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Kent Conrad wrote to the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michael Johanns, regulators have discovered animal material in Canadian feed over the last 15 months, issuing import alerts to block products from 17 companies. Recent inspections have revealed seven Canadian feed mills had "major non-compliance issues" and three were failing to prevent contamination of cattle feed.

I have been following all of this pretty closely and posting the articles in my Activists Against Factory Farming groups, if you want to catch up on all of this. The Yahoo group is the more serious moderated newsletter-type group, with the one on Care2 being the one for discussion (though all the articles posted at Yahoo are also posted at Care2; some are excerpts only due to Care2 having a maximum-character length limit on posts). Some members join both, but you don't have to join either simply to read the posts there. The archives re open to the public.

But, I'm not here today to pitch the groups. What I am wanting to call your attention to is a new site I found today called Animal Voices. They have some great talks there that you can download and listen to.

I thought I would mention, given the latest articles and controversy on the BSE cows in Canada and the high percentage of tainted feed samples found there, is an interview with Lester Friedlander. You may remember back when I gave my keynote speech at UPC this year and I wrote about meeting him and listening to him speak and enoying speaking with him privately. (There's a pic with him and me at the Hilton on my photo page, if you are like me and enjoy knowing what someone looks like when you hear them talk.) According to the website, "Dr. Friedlander was a highly decorated Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer and meat inspector for the USDA at the largest cow slaughter plant and the largest hamburger producing plant in the United States, Taylor Packing Co., Inc. After 10 years of seeing millions of cattle being slaughtered, he was fired after speaking on national television about undercover investigations in meat packing plants."

His experience made our conversations and talks quite interesting, as we had both worked in the slaughter plants, but seen the exact same situations from different perspectives - him from the point of view of the USDA inspector and me from the point of view of a worker employed by the meat-packer. He is really interesting to listen to, although quite alarming when you realize how big the problem really is and how much of a cover-up is going on to keep consumers buying and consuming meat. I highly recommend checking out that particular talk if you really want to get a good grasp on the whole BSE and TSE situation ( and CWD, for that matter - all the animals seem to be getting "mad," even house cats!) from that point of view. He doesn't mince words, and he is able to talk about this in layman's terms that everyone can understand. All of these shows are free for downloading and well worth the time spent doing so and listening to them. I look forward to hearing more of them.

Lester's interview is in two parts: http://animalvoices.ca/audio/20050104_lester_friedlander_1.mp3 (3.3 MB) http://animalvoices.ca/audio/20050104_lester_friedlander_2.mp3 (2.7 MB)

And if you want to go straight to the page that has all of the archived shows, click here.

Another show I really enjoyed hearing was one of an interview with a vegan Marine in Iraq named Ravi Chand, who has successfully converted other Marines to vegetarianism, and one to veganism. He had some interesting things to say. It's in two parts, too.

It's a neat site that I will be listening to more of. Check it out.
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