\"While our experience with having a cow test positive was not with considerable stress, it did not do significant harm to our business.\"
<span style=\'font-family:Verdana\'>Cattle Alert: ?82 Organizations Support House Resolution to Protect U.S. Beef Supply</span></span>
?WASHINGTON (March 15, 2005) _ In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives today, 82 farm and consumer groups urged support of House Joint Resolution 23, which rejects the Agriculture Department\'s plan to reestablish live cattle and beef trade with countries that have documented cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
?\"National Farmers Union and others applaud the efforts of Representatives Herseth and Cubin for introducing this legislation on behalf of U.S. beef producers and consumers,\" said NFU President Dave Frederickson. \"Immediate passage of this resolution should be the House of Representative\'s highest priority.\"
?The full text of the letter and groups follows: ?
?United States House of Representatives
?Washington, D.C. 20515
?We write today representing millions of Americans that do not support the U.S. Department of Agriculture\'s (USDA) plan to establish \"minimal-risk regions\" and permit the importation of commodities from countries with documented cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); including resuming live cattle trade with Canada. We ask for your support and cosponsorship of House Joint Resolution 23, introduced by Representatives Herseth (D-SD) and Cubin (R-WY) to reject USDA\'s current plan. It is vital this resolution be passed before USDA\'s rule is implemented and we urge you to place consideration of the resolution at the top of the House of Representatives\' priority list.
?Now is not the time to rush in reopening the border with Canada, particularly given their most recent announcements of BSE-positive cattle, discovered after the publication of USDA\'s plan. United States must be absolutely sure that the proper steps are being taken to protect the public before the border to Canada is open to cattle and beef products. America produces the safest and most abundant food supply that our consumers have come to depend on. It is unwise to potentially jeopardize the consumer trust instilled in our food supply to prematurely opening our markets to BSE-positive countries.
?The United States Senate passed a similar resolution rejecting USDA\'s plans by a vote of 52-46. During debate in the Senate, many members remarked on the lack of compliance Canada has demonstrated regarding its ruminant feeding ban; the fact our largest beef export markets remain closed to U.S. beef; and finally, mandatory country-of-origin labeling is not in place. We fully concur with these concerns and strongly believe these issues need to be resolved prior to opening the border to Canada.
?On behalf of American consumers and agricultural producers, we again urge you to support and cosponsor H.J. Resolution 23. Please contact Representative Herseth\'s office at 5-2801 (Ryan Stroschein) or Representative Cubin\'s office at 5-2311 (Alison McGuire) to cosponsor H.J.
?American Agriculture Movement
?American Corn Growers Association
?American Meat Goat Association
?Arkansas Farmers Union
?Calaveras Co. Cattlemen\'s Association (CA)
?California Dairy Campaign
?California Farmers Union
?Cattle Producers of Washington ? ?
?Center for Rural Affairs
?Churches\' Center for Land and People
?Citizen\'s Action Coalition (IN)
?Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CA)
?Consumer Federation of America
?Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation
?Dakota Resource Council
?Dakota Rural Action
?Family Farm Defenders
?Family Farm for the Future (MO)
?Florida Farmers, Inc
?Idaho Farmers Union
?Idaho Rural Council
?Illinois Farmers Union
?Independent Cattlemen\'s Association of Texas
?Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska
?Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy
?Intertribal Agriculture Council
?Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
?Iowa Farmers Union
?Kansas Cattlemen\'s Association
?Kansas Farmers Union
?Kansas National Farmers Organization
?Kit Carson County Cattlemen\'s Association (CO)
?Land Stewardship Project (MN)
?Lincoln/Elbert Co. Farmers Union (CO)
?Livestock Marketing Association
?McPherson Co. Farmers Union (KS)
?Michigan Farmers Union
?Minnesota Farmers Union
?Mississippi Livestock Market Association
?Missouri Farmers Union
?Missouri Rural Crisis Center
?Montana Cattlemen\'s Association
?Montana Farmers Union
?National Association of Counties
?National Consumers League
?National Contract Poultry Growers Association
?National Family Farm Coalition
?National Farmers Organization
?National Farmers Union
?Nebraska Farmers Union
?Nevada Committee for Full Statehood
?Nevada Live Stock Association
?New Mexico Cattle Growers\'
?North Carolina Contract Poultry Growers Association
?North Dakota Farmers Union
?Northern Plains Resource Council
?Ohio Farmers Union
?Oregon Farmers Union
?Oregon Livestock Producers Association
?Oregon Rural Action
?Organization for Competitive Markets
?Pennsylvania Farmers Union
?Powder River Basin Resource Council
?R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America
?Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
?Rural Roots (ID, Eastern WA)
?South Dakota Farmers Union
?South Dakota Livestock Auction Markets Assn.
?South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
?Southern Shrimp Alliance
?Soybean Producers of America
?Spokane Co. Cattle Producers (WA) ? ?
?Stillwater Range Association (MT)
?Texas Farmers Union
?Utah Farmers Union
?Washington Farmers Union
?Western Colorado Congress
?Western Organization of Resource Councils
?<span style=\'font-family:Verdana\'>Wisconsin Farmers Union
Hey as long as you cook your meat throughly there should be nothing to worry about.
How BSE Works
BSE is spread by contact with brain or other nervous-system tissue from an infected individual. Contact can be from eating food or food by-products that have been contaminated with nervous tissue, or from instruments that have contacted diseased nervous tissue. Once the infectious agent enters the brain, it can lie dormant for several years (even as long as 10 to 15 years). When activated, the agent kills brain cells, leaving large areas of spongy holes. Also, large clumps of abnormal prion proteins (plaques) are found in brain cells. Once the agent is activated, the disease runs its course in less than one year, and ultimately results in death. We don't know the agent that causes BSE, but we do know the following:
and from the same site...
- The agent must be small - The agent's size must be as small or smaller than a virus.
- You can't kill it by cooking or freezing - Much higher temperatures than those used in cooking or sterilizing are required to kill it.
- Disinfectants don't work - Normal chemicals that you would use to disinfect surfaces for bacteria and viruses (Lysol, Betadine) are not effective.
- It does not appear to have genetic information (nucleic acids) - This finding has been questioned.
The U.S. government has instituted the following policies regarding BSE:
Several U.S. government agencies (FDA, USDA, CDC) are monitoring the meat supply here, as well as imports from other countries. Therefore, the risk of BSE or nvCJD in the United States is low at this time. Other European countries are instituting similar guidelines to contain the BSE epidemic there.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has prohibited imports of live ruminants or ruminant products (meat, feed, by-products) from Europe.
- The USDA has tested any cattle showing abnormal behavior for BSE.
- The USDA inspects all cattle used for food for signs of neurological diseases. Cattle with unidentified neurological disorders are rejected.
- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited using mammalian proteins in making animal feeds for ruminants.
- The FDA has recommended that pharmaceutical companies should not use animal tissues from countries with BSE in making drug products (vaccines).
- The FDA has asked blood centers to exclude potential blood donors who have spent six or more consecutive months in the UK between 1980 and 1986.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regularly monitors the U.S. population for signs of nvCJD.
- The CDC has issued guidelines to travelers in Europe:
- avoid beef and beef products altogether
- if eating meat, then select beef or beef products that have less opportunity for contamination from nervous tissue (solid muscle cuts vs. processed sausages or hamburgers)
- milk or milk products are not believed to pose any risk from the BSE agent
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducts research on BSE, CJD, nvCJD and related nervous system diseases.
? People with vCJD are thought to have been incubating the disease since before the new controls came into force. ?
And as it is not known how long the incubation period is, no one knows how many people are likely to die from the illness.
If the incubation period is very long -- some experts believe it could be as long as 30 or 40 years -- the epidemic may hardly have started yet.
In 1997 new animal studies suggested that vCJD could be transmitted through blood raising fears of a much wider problem.
White blood cells, which form part of the immune system and are found in the lymph glands, were isolated as one of the high-risk tissues for BSE infection.
? ? ? ? ? As a result of this concern, the British Government required the removal of white blood cells from donated blood. ?
The fact that vCJD could enter the lymph system raised the further possibility that it might infect the tonsils or appendix, both of which contain large amounts of lymphoid tissue.
In August this year, new research indicated the existence of a hidden \"subclinical\" form of BSE, which produced no symptoms but could nonetheless be infectious.
This raised the frightening possibility that not only cattle but sheep, pigs and poultry exposed to BSE via animal feed may secretly harbour the disease.
Hmmm. I'll go ask around at the zoo, and figure out what new stuff the AZA knows. They must keep good tabs on this kind of stuff due to the fact we have alot of endangered animals and feed them beef.