BSE

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Anonymous

I posted this on the breeds board and thought I was on this board.. ooops.. so both boards will have the post now.. urgg

I just heard on the news and then read on the net (USDA), that they were aware of the "possible" BSE case on December 9th. Apparently, tests are done at slaughter houses on; particulary "downer" cows, as this cow was. Then while the tests are being processed and BEFORE they know diddly, they put the meat from the tested cow into the meat supply. So, after the meat is intermingled with all the other meat, they decide that the cow might have had BSE.. so now tons of meat are recalled. Why on this earth do they test if they just put the meat in with the rest before they know anything???? Does that not seem to only increase the losses? Additionally, I read the report on this cow is still "presumptive", meaning not conclusive. So we report to the world that we found a case of mad cow in the US, the beef market goes to hell and we are still in the "presumptive" stage? Someone please explain this madness, sounds like our own worst enemy might be us. It would also seem to me that the way to handle this is to hold your beef if you can..try to keep the supply below the demand. This whole thing makes me sick

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Anonymous

I reckon I'll catch a lot of hell for some of the comments below, so anybody can fire away if they want to; I've got broad shoulders and you won't hurt my feelings! I know we only have one apparent case to deal with at this time and I sure as hell hope it's not the tip of a big iceberg of discoveries. We don't need to get hysterical but we sure can't be as nonchalant about it as we may have been only a few days ago.

I think we are all going to take a pretty severe financial hit as a result of this BSE finding (assuming it will be confirmed) but its not at all surprising to me and I've been expecting it, as I imagine many of you have. After it turned up in Canada, albeit one case only, I felt it was just a matter of time for the USA. I just hope our "hit" is not anywhere near as severe as what our friends to the north, and in Europe, have experienced. I don't think that the American consumer will make a hysterically mass exodus away from beef but of course our export market will, and already has, been severely impacted.

I've always been extremely irritated by the possiblity or practice of downer cows entering the human food chain in the first place, and feel it is just plain ridiculous for the feds and our laws to allow that to happen. In my opinion downers ought to be shot and burned on the farm or possibly become dog and cat food, nothing else.

And if the ag. secretary's comments are correct, as to the illegality of using animal tissue in cattle feed since the early 1990's --- and if BSE is only spread in animals by the consumption of contaminated brain, spinal, etc. parts --- I wonder how the hell the cow in Wash. got it. Illegal feed? Perhaps from some non-U.S. source? Perhaps the Wash. animal was very old and had prohibited feed many years ago? I'm too ignorant to be able to imagine all the possibilities.

But I for one would like to see some SEVERE monetary and federal "pen" time penalties put into the law (if they aren't already there) for anyone proven beyond a reasonable doubt to knowingly concoct, mix, sell or feed anything to cattle that was composed of the prohibited animal parts; provisions that are clearly spelled out in law and communicated to all parties to whom the law could conceivably affect, with some real teeth.

I have always been wary and untrusting of many of the policies of "big government", but we all know there are laws that are too commonly broken by folks that are just plain greedy and unscrupulous, often without any corresponding consequence to the lawbreaker. This BSE related issue is one where I think we need a much more highly visable and proactive governmental involvement.
 
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Anonymous

Number one, there isn't anything inherently unhealthy will downer cows. Anything that can't walk in under it's own power is so classified. It could be caused from anything from very serious - BSE, to nothing serious healthwise - pinched nerve during calving. Neighbor just had a cow go down last week, she slipped on the ice and broke her hip. Disposing of them on the farm isn't as easy as one would think. Burning a large animal carcass in some areas is illegal, as is dragging them into the woods for the varmints or even direct buriel in some cases. If they go to the renderer it costs both a fee plus the lose of the animal at least at slaughter there is a small monitary return. If you think beef producers have been on a slim margin you should check out the dairy industry. Up until a couple of months ago, the cost of production was running in some cases as high as 15% over milk price. Any small return is better then loosing it all. Yup, we'll take it in the shorts, I think for the short term. It may not get back to the artificial highs that we've recently had, but it will come back. It's time to suck it up and hang on. If you dump your animals now you'll really get hammered. The latest new is that it was a 4 year old cow. The question is, where would it have contracted it from. That would be shear speculation, but it could have been from none cattle feed that was either accidentally fed or the cow got into inadvertantly on her own. Or it could be a natural mutation that may occur in issolated cases. USDA (the government) must be proactive in containing this problem. Over reaction may very well be required to re-assure the consumer of the safety of the food supply.

dun

> I reckon I'll catch a lot of hell
> for some of the comments below, so
> anybody can fire away if they want
> to; I've got broad shoulders and
> you won't hurt my feelings! I know
> we only have one apparent case to
> deal with at this time and I sure
> as hell hope it's not the tip of a
> big iceberg of discoveries. We
> don't need to get hysterical but
> we sure can't be as nonchalant
> about it as we may have been only
> a few days ago.

> I think we are all going to take a
> pretty severe financial hit as a
> result of this BSE finding
> (assuming it will be confirmed)
> but its not at all surprising to
> me and I've been expecting it, as
> I imagine many of you have. After
> it turned up in Canada, albeit one
> case only, I felt it was just a
> matter of time for the USA. I just
> hope our "hit" is not
> anywhere near as severe as what
> our friends to the north, and in
> Europe, have experienced. I don't
> think that the American consumer
> will make a hysterically mass
> exodus away from beef but of
> course our export market will, and
> already has, been severely
> impacted.

> I've always been extremely
> irritated by the possiblity or
> practice of downer cows entering
> the human food chain in the first
> place, and feel it is just plain
> ridiculous for the feds and our
> laws to allow that to happen. In
> my opinion downers ought to be
> shot and burned on the farm or
> possibly become dog and cat food,
> nothing else.

> And if the ag. secretary's
> comments are correct, as to the
> illegality of using animal tissue
> in cattle feed since the early
> 1990's --- and if BSE is only
> spread in animals by the
> consumption of contaminated brain,
> spinal, etc. parts --- I wonder
> how the hell the cow in Wash. got
> it. Illegal feed? Perhaps from
> some non-U.S. source? Perhaps the
> Wash. animal was very old and had
> prohibited feed many years ago?
> I'm too ignorant to be able to
> imagine all the possibilities.

> But I for one would like to see
> some SEVERE monetary and federal
> "pen" time penalties put
> into the law (if they aren't
> already there) for anyone proven
> beyond a reasonable doubt to
> knowingly concoct, mix, sell or
> feed anything to cattle that was
> composed of the prohibited animal
> parts; provisions that are clearly
> spelled out in law and
> communicated to all parties to
> whom the law could conceivably
> affect, with some real teeth.

> I have always been wary and
> untrusting of many of the policies
> of "big government", but
> we all know there are laws that
> are too commonly broken by folks
> that are just plain greedy and
> unscrupulous, often without any
> corresponding consequence to the
> lawbreaker. This BSE related issue
> is one where I think we need a
> much more highly visable and
> proactive governmental
> involvement.



[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

> Number one, there isn't anything
> inherently unhealthy will downer
> cows.

I absolutely agree with you on that. In my nine years fooling around with my own cattle I've only had 3 downers. One birthing paralysis, one due to mismanagement on my part early in the learning curve time and one that the vet never could figure out. As an absentee owner I gave an inordinate effort to trying to save each one but finally used the .22 on each of them. On at least the first two I mentioned I'm confident that there was nothing wrong with their meat. Guess I could have gotten a little for them from a killer facility but chose not to go that route (and hassle). Hadn't really thought of the problems with burning, etc. in some parts of the country as per your comment since in my area burning is not a problem.

I guess my concern on downers is that, while I know the inspectors will condemn certain carcasses, my gut tells me they miss some problems. An anecdote --- I know a guy that admitted to me that he has shot up some of his sick cows with damn near everything imaginable and if they don't react to his satisfaction he hauls them to the killer cow buyer. He knows some of the stuff he uses has a withdrawal time but that doesn't seem to bother him. I don't think he has ever had one for which payment to him was zero due to condemnation. Maybe it really isn't a big deal, and I'm a relative "newbie" to all this, but I figure the label instructions are there for a good reason. But then he's a hardheaded "oldtimer" that still gives all his non-subQ injections in the butt and doesn't really care what anybody else thinks about it.

I can certainly understand cattlemen (and the dairy guys too) wanting to get as much salvage value as they can for their animals, whether they be merely older culls or downers. But I think with very many consumers these days "perception is reality". I have always disliked that phrase but must grudgingly admit that, practically speaking, I now have to treat it as a truism (in many facets of life, not just the cattle business). And in this case I'd like the feds to do all they can, on a proactive basis, to make sure that the beef eating consumer doesn't have too many of those bad "perceptions" about what the U. S. cattlemen are willing to sell them. I expect we'll see a renewed wave of activism by the PETA folks, Oprah, and people of their type. I know the feds are hard at work on the tracing issues related to this particular dairy cow in Wash. and it will be very interesting to learn about the chain of ownership and the feeding practices used with that cow (and with her herdmates a few years ago).

I have a client with 3,500 calves at various stages of finishing in a feedlot, UNHEDGED --- wasn't able to talk to him today but I bet he is sweating bullets.

Anyway, I always like to to read your comments and appreciate your contributions to the forum. Have a great Christmas and holiday season.
 
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Anonymous

You make an excellent point that we are in the presumptive stage of this investigation.How stupid would we look if this cow were to turn out not to be infected!You gotta think the govt. is pretty sure.I noticed Wendys and Mcdonalds said they wouldn't allow downer cows in their supply chain but I doubt that they keep an inspector at the packing houses to watch every animal that is killed.I do not think downer cows should be put in the food chain period.Now if an individual wants to eat it himself so be it but not randomly mixed in the nation's food system.I think meat should be labeled by age country of origin breed and anything else that can be added to it in order to let people know what they are eating!

[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

> You make an excellent point that
> we are in the presumptive stage of
> this investigation.How stupid
> would we look if this cow were to
> turn out not to be infected!You
> gotta think the govt. is pretty
> sure.I noticed Wendys and
> Mcdonalds said they wouldn't allow
> downer cows in their supply chain
> but I doubt that they keep an
> inspector at the packing houses to
> watch every animal that is
> killed.I do not think downer cows
> should be put in the food chain
> period.Now if an individual wants
> to eat it himself so be it but not
> randomly mixed in the nation's
> food system.I think meat should be
> labeled by age country of origin
> breed and anything else that can
> be added to it in order to let
> people know what they are eating!

i think we better get ready for some kind of tracking identification system on cattle from the time they were born until they are slaughtered or die a natural death. i too wonder what info the feds will come up with as far as tracing the cow back to where she originated from, and if she came from Canada, welllllll?? i also agreee with what arnold said about tough regulations should be put on the feed companies and monitoring what they actually put in their feed. i think all of us, in the back of our minds, knew when the cow in Canada was diagnosed that it was only a matter of time before we had cases here in the US.we probably won't really know how bad be are going to get hit by lower cattle prices until the first or second week of january. by then the final test results will be in and our politicians can start earning their salary by doing some world wide marketing on everyone's behalf to get every one over this frenzy and back to eating beef.
 
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Anonymous

I agree about the regulations for feed companies, but we, as purchasers of the feed, must be vigilant, even demanding, as well. I am very particular about the feed I buy. I dont use any kind of feed that has "any" kind of animal by-products.. absolutely none, I dont use growth hormones and dont use any medicated feed. I read the labels of everything I put out there and if I have a question, I contact the manufacturer and get a "written" statement of the item I question, before I feed it. If they dont want to provide me with it, then to hell with them. I will purchase NOTHING from them. I am not trying to be a hard a$$, but i dont believe in the practice of adding all this stuff in the feed. If the cow is not sick, why medicate? I want my beef to grow naturally, then it actually tastes by beef, so hormones are not needed here. As to animal by-products, beef cattle are not carnivorous.. so why add anything like that?

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Anonymous

Well, I agree with most of the above comments, the USDA is trying to pass legislation that will call for permanent ID tags, Now when thinking of a permanent ID, I do NOT think of a radio sensitive ear tag, Ear tags fall out, ears get torn etc.. Why on earth dont they adopt the AVID chip currently used in Small Animals and horses, the data can be changed as needed when ownership changes, and a small history of the animal can be entered in a nation wide system, we don't need to spend millions of dollars researching what a good system might be, one already exists they just need to implement it. And all those old farts who still won't follow BQA guidlines for herd health managment practices, will go broke or die and be eliminated from the current beef production chain.

There are lots of retired folks out there and some young folks too, that are very interested in developing herds to raise quality beef animals, they are getting educated and learning what it takes and the neccessary measures to follow to produce quality healthy beef aniamls, that meet todays beef standards.

Proper herd managment eliminates having downer cows, sire selection for calving ease, and mouthing cattle anually to insure they are capable of surviving with existing forrage conditions, and propper culling of older females, as well as sub-optimal bulls.

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Anonymous

>"Why on earth dont they
> adopt the AVID chip currently used
> in Small Animals and horses,"

From what I have been told the chips migrate within the body and are a risk in the processing of food. Nobody wants a ID pellet showing up in their hamburger. Also the packers say the technology is not perfected enough to allow easy reading at the plant.

Don't know if its true but its what I have been told.

Up until M.I.D was a four letter word with American beef producers. I think that will change!
 
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Anonymous

I firmly believe we are going attempt to have an ID program in place very soon.I say attempt because I am more than a little concerned it is even possible. I also think it will be done with eartags and not implanted microchips.You would be amazed at the people that own cattle and don't even have a headgate.I wonder if penalties will be enforced on those who don't comply with the rules.I wonder if some folks will say it is too much trouble and just get out of the business all together. Any thoughts?

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Anonymous

Seems to be a lot of talk about the need for stricter rules and regulations. I don't know that I would agree. You are talking about penalties for those that won't comply. We need to be careful. If Mad Cow doesn't put some of us out of business the rules and regulations might. We haven't even traced the source of the infected animal back to see how it may have been infected or where it came from. Maybe after the facts are revealed we can come up with a simple solution that won't be a burden, or infringe on the rights of the rancher.

> I firmly believe we are going
> attempt to have an ID program in
> place very soon.I say attempt
> because I am more than a little
> concerned it is even possible. I
> also think it will be done with
> eartags and not implanted
> microchips.You would be amazed at
> the people that own cattle and
> don't even have a headgate.I
> wonder if penalties will be
> enforced on those who don't comply
> with the rules.I wonder if some
> folks will say it is too much
> trouble and just get out of the
> business all together. Any
> thoughts?
 
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Anonymous

Sounds like propaganda from people who either don't understand the technology or just don't want to be bothered . All of my dogs are microchipped and I'm very seriously considering doing the same with my cattle and show rabbits. If nothing else, it provides 100% positive identification in the case of a lost or stolen animal -- ear tags can easily be replaced, and tattoos can be changed.

Microchips do NOT migrate in the body -- they are implanted into the skin with a syringe-like device. They're smaller than a grain of rice.

The problem with the readers is that there is more than one type of chip and each type of chip requires it own reader -- in other words, there's no "universal reader" that will read all types of chips.

Some chips contain a lot of information on the chip itself, others contain only a number that has to be cross referenced through a computer data base.

If it were decided that only one type of chip were to be used, it would eliminate most of the problems with reading chips at the plant.

Ann B

> From what I have been told the
> chips migrate within the body and
> are a risk in the processing of
> food. Nobody wants a ID pellet
> showing up in their hamburger.
> Also the packers say the
> technology is not perfected enough
> to allow easy reading at the
> plant.

> Don't know if its true but its
> what I have been told.

> Up until M.I.D was a four letter
> word with American beef producers.
> I think that will change!



[email protected]
 
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Anonymous

> I firmly believe we are going
> attempt to have an ID program in
> place very soon.I say attempt
> because I am more than a little
> concerned it is even possible. I
> also think it will be done with
> eartags and not implanted
> microchips.You would be amazed at

> the people that own cattle and
> don't even have a headgate.I
> wonder if penalties will be
> enforced on those who don't comply
> with the rules.I wonder if some
> folks will say it is too much
> trouble and just get out of the
> business all together. Any
> thoughts?

Canada has had an ID system in place for 2 yrs. now. It's a bar code ear tag, and every animal must be IDed from it's place of birth. The Holstein Association has had the tagging system in place for a lot longer. Every Canadian born holstein born in the last five years has an individual number that you can look up (via internet) and find all it's info (date and place of birth,ownership history, progeny and pedigree). ALL this still has not accelerated the opening of the U.S. border to live Canadian Cattle under 30 months of age. The Canadian crisis is strictly political, nothing to do with science, food safety, bio-security or anything else. I'm fearful that you the U.S. producer will be left holding the bag and shouldering the whole load just like the Canadian producers are and the U.K. producers were at the height of their crises. the ID system here is entirely traceback,but when I sold a group of stockers earlier last spring they did not have the tag # on the Statement/cheque. the tagging system allows the buyer to trace the animal back to me but I couldn't follow where the animals went,or which animal sold for the high price or which one was discounted. If you are going to implement an ID system, as producers you should insist on trace forward as well as trace back.

To me it seems the consumer doesn't want to hear any bad news about food safety, if they do they blame the producer first. Beef in the stores sell now at close to the same it was before May 20th yet the farmer is getting 70% to 10% of the spring '03 price.It seems to me that no one wants to hear how tough a cattle farmer is having it. The farm suppliers still want to sell their products and still want to get paid for it. The bank is reluctant to re-negotiate any loans and if they do they want a higher interest rate(more risk of course)or charge a bunch more fees. The accountant is willing to spend more time to assess the books but of course he charges for that extra time as well. And the "compensation package" is worth as much as a soggy catalogue in an outhouse. Sorry for the rant but my thoughts are with you guys(gals) and I wish you the best.



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Anonymous

The EXCEL plant at Dodge City, KS kills a lot of "special" cattle, 4H projects, state feedout cattle, show cattle, carcass contest cattle, etc., that are chipped. If they can't locate that chip pretty quick on the line, they condemn the carcass because they can't chance it showing up in meat on consumer's plates. And that's expensive. IMO there's not a foolproof method out there, yet, but we have to come up with something and improve it as we go along.

> Sounds like propaganda from people
> who either don't understand the
> technology or just don't want to
> be bothered . All of my dogs are
> microchipped and I'm very
> seriously considering doing the
> same with my cattle and show
> rabbits. If nothing else, it
> provides 100% positive
> identification in the case of a
> lost or stolen animal -- ear tags
> can easily be replaced, and
> tattoos can be changed.

> Microchips do NOT migrate in the
> body -- they are implanted into
> the skin with a syringe-like
> device. They're smaller than a
> grain of rice.

> The problem with the readers is
> that there is more than one type
> of chip and each type of chip
> requires it own reader -- in other
> words, there's no "universal
> reader" that will read all
> types of chips.

> Some chips contain a lot of
> information on the chip itself,
> others contain only a number that
> has to be cross referenced through
> a computer data base.

> If it were decided that only one
> type of chip were to be used, it
> would eliminate most of the
> problems with reading chips at the
> plant.

> Ann B
 
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Anonymous

Microchips do migrate in the body, ask a reputable vet. This isn't a problem in a small animal like a dog or rabbit, but in a cow it could be a huge problem. How long do you want a slaughter animal standing there being scanned? oops that scanner didn't work, hold the line for another 5 while I do it again...

Jason
 
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Anonymous

I doubt that these ID/tag/chip issues will SOLVE anything. An occasional disease/problem in any line of the food chain happens and the beef industry is one the safest operations in the world. Compared to other entities, the % of beef that is uneffected is astronomically great. FAR too much is being made of this thing, and now that the government is digging into even more, there is sure to be something counterproductive come out of it. Panic is a by-product of juming to conclusions and things getting blown out of proportion. Lets get back to business.



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Anonymous

I have a few comments I would like to get off my chest as well as pose some questions for the group , I just hope I can get into word form what I am thinking. I do not have a problem with a national ID system , maybe we should have had one years ago. Seems like the purebreed assoc. can tell you who owns a cow where the cow is and the lineage of the cow. This is for the cows, bulls and semen sold......Will this be voluntay, mandatory ? Like previuosly stated there are plenty of folks that do not even have head gates or squeeze chutes.......The rope and fence post crowd.I grew up that way only took a broken arm to know there was a better way......If this is mandatory I guess we are looking at an unfunded mandate....The producer will have to burden the cost... Also all the tracking in the world will not solve the problem if you let this same scenerio play out....The downer cow was tested because it was "suspect" so why then was the meat comingled and let enter the food chain.....could not this carcas been put in cold storage or frozen till tests results came back ? (greedy processor ?) Quite frankly I look to the future cautiously ...I see this as possibly a way for packers to squeeze us even harder....Remember those guys that said COOL was too expensive to implement too cumbersome....they were none to happy with the unprecidented prices paid to cattlemen of late....Now I am not saying that it is because of them that this cow entered the food chain when it should of went to a rendering plant. I just think when the smoke settles...we will be burdened with additional costs , lower prices, smaller profits....some smaller and older family producers will pack it up....the retail case in grocery stores will never reflect the drop in price...McDonalds and Outback will not lower prices.....and the packers will play this for all they can to discredit cattle producers, rob us of our independence and call for the integration of the cattle business under the quise of food safety.......Thats my two cents worth.....please excuse the spelling and sentenance structure....



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Anonymous

Yes Ann B microchips DO migrate in the body. I have a close friend in the microID biz and he says that is one of the problems.

Be careful when you do your cattle with them. I wouldn't want you to throw them away.
 
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Anonymous

FYI Feed manufacturers are carefully regulated concerning animal byproducts and penalties for illegal use are very stiff. I predicted the cow would be Canadian the day the news broke. Canada was importing a lot of EU meat and bone meal prior to 1997 and were much more likely to see bovine TSE because of it. The US never had a significant source of suspect feed ingredient from outside the US and its highly unlikely we could develop a case. My bigger fear for the last 7 or 8 years has been a case of vCJD developing in the US due to consumption of beef products imported before the EU ban. As the incubation period for that is likely past. Until last May, I thought Canada was going to "dodge the bullet" as well.



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Anonymous

Thank you Ann

The microchip system would be the easiest,

The chips are small, they are placed SQ, this means uner the hide, not in the muscle, they can sometimes float around under the hide, as we do not eat the hide, I don't see what the issue is all about, For those out there that are not engineers, the computer system than would be required (Reader) is a very symple device, force the producers of this product to come up with a decent design that could be used through out the industry and problem solved, the only problem we ever face is those out the that are just plain greedy, if we all have to utilize this system, there would be plenty of money to be made, and if all calves were implanted shortly after birth you would not need to have a head gate, I still hold to the fact that ear tags fall out, ears rip and get torn off etc., so I feel that ear tags are a bad risk, and can not hold enough information. From a software stand point this is a no brainer, just get the computer geeks to design a better product.

For all the criminals out there, the microchip will shut you down in a hury, it is very effective in small animal and equine identification, and proof of ownership issues.

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