AR-News: (US) Mad Cow Forces Beef Industry to Change Course
info at animalconcerns.org
Sun Jan 4 22:23:15 EST 2004
This article is by Michael Moss, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Simon Romero.
Jeffrey Behling, a dairy farmer in Washington State, used to burn the
carcasses of his hobbled "downer" cattle until he found there was a market
for their meat. Even so, selling damaged cows for human consumption never
sat well with Mr. Behling, who in 2001 briefly had in his feedlot the
Holstein cow identified last month as the downer with mad cow disease.
"It's an absurd practice," Mr. Behling, 44, said in an interview.
"Foolishness caused by maybe a certain amount of greed."
When an animal rights group, Farm Sanctuary, and an individual, Michael
Baur, sued the government to force a ban on using downer animals for food,
government lawyers persuaded a federal judge to dismiss the case on the
ground that mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, had not
appeared in the United States.
"The threat of B.S.E. from downed livestock is not `real and immediate,' "
the lawyers argued. "B.S.E. has never been found in the country's
livestock, and there is no reasoned basis to expect that it ever will be
considering the measures being taken against it." An appeals court
reinstated the case on Dec. 16, 2003 one week before the announcement
that the disease had been discovered.
For years, the industry had a simple strategy: Fight proposals that would
crimp its ability to squeeze as much revenue as possible from each cow.
The finances were compelling.
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