Don't mind me. I just get mad that we've been testing so few cattle for what could be a nasty epidemic a dozen or more years from now. vCJD (the human version of mad cow) and other TSEs and prion diseases are nothing to sneeze at. These are diseases we can neither cure nor control, and do not even understand all that well. Eating BSE-infected meat is just one possible cause-- I bet there are others. And incubation could be one year or thirty-- we just don't know.
Awful way to die, too.
You'd think the CDC would require that all cases of vCJD and CJD be reported.
But no. They don't.
In fact, studies suggest that it's often misdiagnosed as Alzheimers, Huntington disease, or early-onset dementia.
Perhaps if we ignore it, it will go away. La la la la, we can't hear you, CJD.
When you think about the fact that we slaughter nearly 40 million cattle each year, but tested only 20,000 last year (a huge increase over the 5,000 tested the prior year, and the 1,000 the year before that)-- well, it's no wonder we've been "BSE free" for so long. Can't find what you don't look for. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration considers this to be "an aggressive surveillance program."
Yet that 20,000 does not even represent a tenth of downer cows (cows that are not ambulatory at time of slaughter).
(As an aside, yes, at least 200,000 cows last year were too sick to stand. This situation is improving, but we may be a day late and a dollar short.)
According to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, this testing program of ours "far exceeds international testing standards."
Funny how we pick and choose our "international testing standards."
We don't say that we're not at all meeting the bare minimum of testing recommended by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which suggests that every downer cow be screened for the disease, as well as healthy animals at random.
No, we say that we're exceeding the standards set by the Office International des Epizooties, which suggests that if you don't have a known case of it, you shouldn't really have to test for it.
La la la laaaa, we still can't hear you.
Psst-- open one eye. Has it gone away yet?
Pisses me off, it does. Do you know that a variant is widespread in deer and elk, nationwide?
And it's still perfectly legal in this country to render elk and deer with that variant (Chronic Wasting Disease) and feed it to other animals.
I'm no Chicken Little, mind you, but I think we may be in for a rough ride.
Here's hoping I'm very wrong.
I'd rather eat my words right now than meat.
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Anywho, other than that, things are going well in my little world. :)
I've got to go pack or sleep or something-- cab will be here at 6:40a, and I am, as usual, underprepared.
I hope each and every one of you has a lovely holiday (and if you don't celebrate, have a fantabulous weekend).
See you on the flip side, folks!