December 28, 2003

It's a Mad, Mad Cow

Hello. My name is Heather. I'll be the host of this blog. Again.

Been without Internet access for about 24 hours, and with the holidays and stuff, I've lost immediacy with the whole mad cow story. But, of course, others have put into print (at least on screen) their thoughts.

First I read was Kevin at Wizbang in his post Mad Cow Patties, and it covers the political bent taken on this issue. Evidently, Dr. Howard Dean points his parentally shaking finger at the Bush administration for not being able to immediately immobilize and something like magnetically (and instantly) recall any other of the bovine persuasion that may be affected. Oh, please. Eric Schlosser was seriously yapping (eloquently, I might add - that's not an affront) in his book Fast Food Nation, and that was released in 2001. That means it was written the previous year or two years. Mr. Dean, meet Mr. Schlosser. For more on that, I reviewed the book earlier.

Kevin's nicer than I am. He says:
    Instant traceability would be nice, but would have had no effect on the foreign boycotts of U.S. product. Nations have enacted immediate bans on our beef product just has we have done with Canadian beef and British beef before that. Whether or not we could instantly identify the history of the infected animal would have ZERO impact on bans. Immediate bans are a politically easy and popular mechanism to quell domestic uneasiness. Being able to block imports for good cause is also popular because it makes money for domestic producers; just ask US beef producers coming off their best year ever partially due to the ban on Canadian imports.
And he's absolutely right on the money here. It's as if everything changed in that second when the disease was identified. Ack! Panic! What else could be lurking?

And as to the sufferance of the beef industry, from a foreign standpoint, yes. Kevin again:
    Taxpayers are already supporting the cattle industry and farming in general with a byzantine myriad of federal programs. As many have pointed out the industry has lobbied against the kinds of controls now being called for, so a good case could be made for the fact that they made their bed and should now lie in it.
Ah, industry responsibility. "We can self-police." "Oops."

I'm going to segue for just a bit - yesterday I purchased the book known as Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf. Very small print, this one. It may be good it's in paperback. Publisher's Weekly calls it "A more generous view of the beef industry than Eric Schlosser's recent Fast Food absorbing first-hand account." Somebody get me a copy of The Jungle for my birthday in July?

But, excuse, me for a moment. I have to go shake the steaks in the marinade. Moo.


Posted by hln at December 28, 2003 05:13 PM | Health | TrackBack


Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 29, 2003 03:57 AM