Sunday, February 17, 2008

Under the USDA, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Cow World.

Recent News Reports have been filled with the news of the biggest recall of beef in history. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co.

The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006.

In other words, this being February 2008, most of the beef being recalled has likely already been consumed by unwitting, carnivorous, American consumers.

The recall and federally-ordered suspension of operations at Westland/Hallmark comes only after an undercover video from the Humane Society of the United States surfaced showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts.

Authorities said the video showed workers kicking, using electric shock and otherwise abusing "downer" animals that were apparently too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse. Some animals had water forced down their throats from a high pressure hose.

(In spite of the video (only the most recently caught-on-tape case of animal abuse), the USDA, after much hoof-dragging, finally declared in 2003 that so-called 'downer' animals should be kept out of the human food supply. This was because of the possibility that they might be suffering from/their meat products contaminated with Mad Cow Disease. People who eat the contaminated meat can develop the human version of spongiform encephalopathy.)

I don't know how many slaughterhouses there are in the U.S., but I'm quite sure that this is not an isolated incident.

History is filled with evidence that (and research studies have shown) when some human beings are given absolute power over anyone, be they inmates in a U.S. prison, detainees in Abu Ghraib/Gitmo... or helpless and frightened animals in a factory farm or slaughterhouse...
Terrible Abuse... up to and including Torture... is bound to occur.

Unfortunately, it's a 'no-brainer.'

What I want to know is... who are the people who the news is saying are "...up in arms over video of animal abuse"? (Other than vegan people, of course, like myself, who find the whole process barbaric whether there's over-the-top torture of the animals or just the run-of-the-mill, normal torture.)

Are they the same people who, at lunch, gave in to a Big Mac Attack?
Are they the same people who think nothing of grabbing a couple of Happy Meals for their kids? ("Happy Meal" is one of the greatest and most horribly ironic misnomers in modern history... Trust me, the cattle who passed through the McMillions Murdered processing plant didn't die happy.)

I saw the video... and it is gut-wrenching to see these gentle and harmless animals -who are obviously suffering horribly (enough to render them incapable of taking the march to captive-bolt stunning and carotid artery slicing death under their own power) being Tortured in their last Torturous Moments.

As for this headline-grabbing, breaking news/lead-in story-worthy and (honestly)relatively pointless recall goes...

"It's really closing the barn door after the cows left.", as Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union noted.



Mad Cow Disease: It’s Mad to Eat Meat

Mad cow disease is one of the most frightening diseases of our generation. Also known as “bovine spongiform encephalopathy,” it is a member of a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. These diseases, which cause the brain to degenerate until it becomes “spongy” and lead to eventual death, are caused by misshapen proteins called “prions.”1 Researchers have traced massive outbreaks of the disease on factory farms to the meat industry’s cost-cutting practice of mixing the brain tissue of dead farmed animals into the feed of other farmed animals.

Any animal with a brain has the potential to become infected with a prion disease and could pass the disease on to humans who eat the animal’s flesh.

To make matters worse, prions are nearly indestructible. They're impervious to radiation, washing, boiling and the intense heat of autoclaves used to sterilize surgical instruments. Unlike many harmful bacteria, prions aren't destroyed by cooking or by the strong juices produced in your stomach.

Scientists have already identified mad cow disease variants in humans, fish, sheep, minks, cows, deer, and cats. Although illegal in Japan and Europe, in the U.S. and Canada it remains common to include the blood, bone, and unwanted flesh of all types of farmed animals in the feed of chickens, turkeys, and pigs. Of all the animal flesh and bone meal that is processed into food for farmed animals, almost half is fed to chickens and turkeys, 13 percent is fed to pigs, and 10 percent is fed to cows.

How Do People Get Mad Cow Disease?

When people eat infected animals, they can develop the human version of spongiform encephalopathy called “new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease” (nvCJD). This disease eats holes in the brain (which results in a spongy appearance), initially causing memory loss and erratic behavior. Over a period of months, victims gradually lose the ability to care for themselves or communicate, and they eventually die. There is evidence that a large number of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may in fact be victims of CJD.

Eating contaminated meat has caused more than 150 deaths worldwide. Thousands more are likely infected but do not know it yet, according to a study published in The Journal of Pathology, and it can take years for symptoms to develop.6,7 Millions of cows developed the disease in Europe in the 1990s and were killed and their bodies burned—although burning does not destroy prions. Hunters in the U.S. and their families may have contracted the disease by eating infected deer they killed.8

What Is the U.S. Government Doing to Protect Americans From Mad Cow Disease?

The USDA, which is supposed to ensure the safety of the American food supply, has a long, disturbing history of protecting the profits of the wealthy meat, dairy, and egg industries instead of protecting consumers and animals. But the agency’s actions on the mad cow issue may be the most appalling dereliction of duty to date:

“Downed cows” (those too sick or injured to walk) are considered the most likely to have mad cow disease. After years of stalling, the USDA finally announced in late 2003 that it would stop allowing these animals into the human food supply. However, a damning internal report released three years later found that USDA inspectors were still allowing many downed cows to be slaughtered for human consumption.9

While Japan and England test every slaughtered cow for mad cow disease, the U.S. tests fewer than 1 percent of cows.10,11 The USDA even refused to allow a slaughterhouse to do its own testing—perhaps fearful of what the slaughterhouse might find.12

A 2006 audit found that top USDA officials tried to stop additional testing on a cow who was suspected of having mad cow disease because the agency feared that a positive test would cause economic harm to the beef industry. When the inspector general finally insisted that the cow be tested, the results showed that the cow was indeed infected with the disease.13

How to Protect Yourself

The American government is not following the World Health Organization recommendations for protecting Americans from mad cow disease.

There is no cure for vCJD (the form of Mad Cow which humans can develop).

There is also no treatment that will slow the progress of the disease. Drug therapy can be used to help some of the psychiatric symptoms of the condition.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is always fatal. The typical survival time is eight months after symptoms first appear. About 5 percent of patients live longer than two years. The usual survival time for patients with nvCJD is twelve months after onset.

Simply put, the only way to ensure that you won’t eat something that will cause you to develop a horrific, brain-rotting illness is to go vegetarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Greetings From San Francisco!
Thanks For Reading Forget Big Brother...
I hope you find something herein that is informative, inspires interest, laughter, action and provides you with Gifts of Unknown Things.
Feel Free to Say "Hello!", Leave Comments, Offer Encouragement, Share a Funny or Related Item.
Best Wishes.