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Dec 26, 2003
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The USDA is not helping our trade with Japan.

Mad Cow,

Madder Cattleman
Rancher Willing to Pay for Mad Cow Tests, But USDA Says No

By David Kerley

C A M P B E L L S B U R G, Ky., May 2 — Cattleman John Stewart has become an unlikely crusader against the government.
Stewart raises Angus bulls on his Creekstone farm and processes 300,000 animals per year. Twenty-five percent of the beef was to go to Asia — until last December, and America's first reported case of mad cow disease.

"Everything closes," Stewart said. "International trade stops. It was a frightening day."

More than 50 nations, including Japan, banned American beef. Stewart says his business is losing $80,000 a day.

The Japanese, who test every animal for mad cow disease, will not allow American beef imports again until the U.S. cattle industry does the same.

Offer Rebuffed

In order to resume selling beef in Asia, Stewart made an offer: He would test every animal that came through his facility for mad cow disease, and he would pay the cost of having the government oversee the tests.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture refused.

"They've told us if we attempt to buy those test kits and use them, they are going to put me in jail," Stewart said.

The government has never allowed private testing. And even though test kits are available, they are not licensed.

The USDA also argues that since most animals are slaughtered at an age before mad cow disease becomes a concern, Stewart's offer to test all animals is simply unnecessary.

"There is no scientific basis for doing this kind of testing," said Ron deHaven of the USDA. "But in fact, by opening the door to that kind of testing, we would be assuming on behalf of the consumers a tremendous cost."

The USDA estimates testing all cattle could cost $1 billion. The rest of the cattle industry, which could be forced by competition to test as well, is siding with the government.

"We're not going to support doing anything that would mislead consumers that beef is safer because of testing," said Gary Weber of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Does this not show something. The USDA doesnt want every animal tested because they know there is more positive tests lurking out there. And this could hurt things worse. Does anyone agree?
The reason that this is such a problem is that Japan hardly has any beef cattle. The US slaughters 20 times as many cattle in a week as Japan does in a year or approximately 1000 times the cattle that Japan does. How long would it take to put these procedures in place and train people in the lab to be able to cover that kind of testin? Also, Japan tests all of their beef and the US border is not open to Japanese beef, so who says that mandatory testing of all animals is going to open the border to Japan?
I do not agree that the reason the USDA does not want to test all cattle is that there are more positives out there,

Tests yeild questionable positives on snap tests performed on brain tissue, questionable positives are then retested 2X, and only reported when at least one of those 2 is a definite positive, and thus they haqve had no real positives,

the test available just does not yeild good definite possitve test results

There is also the fact that given the bans on feeding animal parts to other animals, there should be ZERO transmition of the DZ to the cattle population on feed, thus NO cattle should turn up positve other than potentialy old downer cows, thin cows, or cattle exibiting neural behaviors, thus these are the cattle the USDA is requiring tests be performed on, saving lots of $$$$, and lab time

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