Close
Home » Articles »   By WLJ
 
 
Monday, January 31,2005

Johanns asked to listen to whistleblower

by WLJ
Eighteen farm, consumer and public interest groups last Wednesday delivered a letter to new Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, expressing concern about the apparent retaliation against the chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals (NJC), who recently made disclosures covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) rules on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). On Dec. 8, NJC chairman Charles Painter sent a letter on behalf of the the government meat inspectors' union to the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), outlining concerns about the removal of "specified risk materials" (SRMs) from cattle and FSIS inspectors' ability to enforce the export requirements for products destined for Mexico. SRMS are the nervous system tissues believed to be most likely to carry the infectious prions that cause BSE. Among his concerns: 1) Plant employees are not correctly identifying and marking animals over 30 months old, which means plant employees and government personnel further down the line are unaware that numerous parts should be removed as SRMs and these high-risk materials are entering the food supply, and 2) Production line inspectors are not authorized by the USDA to take actions when they see plant employees sending products that do not meet export requirements past the point on the line where they can be identified and removed. Rather than addressing the issues raised, USDA reacted to the letter by directing extraordinary resources to targeting the NCJ chairman and other regional union presidents: • On Dec. 23, an FSIS compliance officer appeared unannounced at the home of Painter while he was on annual leave to question him about the allegations in the letter. • On Dec. 28, Painter received a notice from FSIS that he was under formal investigation. • On Jan. 6, Painter was ordered to Washington, D.C., to be questioned for three hours by FSIS. • On Jan. 7, seven regional council presidents for the NJC also were ordered to appear in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 11 for an interview. "Mr. Painter offered this information to the USDA because he was concerned that the agency's inadequate policy could put consumers in danger," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's food program. "The USDA should have been grateful, but it chose to attack the whistleblower instead of attacking the problem. Secretary Johanns has emphasized that USDA employees should be treated with 'equality, dignity, and respect.' We urge him to live up to those words and stop this retaliatory investigation of Mr. Painter." In his letter, Painter did not identify specific plants where reports had come from because he did not know. In fact, he chose not to learn the identity of the plants, so that he would not be forced to disclose this information, which could allow the agency to take retaliatory action against the inspectors assigned to these plants. "This case presents a classic example of the value and necessity of whistleblowers," the letter from the public interest groups said. "The concerns outlined by Mr. Painter's letter are of vital interest to consumers, especially in light of recent announcements of the discovery of two more cases of mad cow disease in Canada and the agency's intent to re-establish imports of live animals from Canada. The public has the right to know that the reality inside meat plants is not the same as the picture being painted for the media by USDA officials in Washington, D.C." The groups urge Johanns to immediately investigate this incident and to reconsider the decision to initiate a formal misconduct investigation of Painter. The USDA also should take steps necessary to establish an environment inside FSIS that encourages employees to disclose issues of waste, fraud or threats to public health, the groups said. The groups signing onto the letter include: the American Corn Growers Association, Cancer Prevention Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Community Nutrition Institute, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Policy Institute/Consumers Union, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Foundation, Inc., Family Farm Defenders, Government Accountability Project, Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Iowa Farmers Union, Lane County Food Coalition, Organic Consumers Association, Public Citizen, Safe Tables Our Priority, The Humane Society of the United States and the Weston A. Price Foundation. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 31,2005

National Animal ID on Internet

by WLJ
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Jan. 26 the launch of a new Web site to inform stakeholders about the national animal identification system (NAIS). The Web site, available at http://www.usda.gov/nais, is designed to be a one-stop resource to facts about NAIS. "We hope our stakeholders will visit the site frequently to find out the latest news about the NAIS from a national perspective," said APHIS Administrator W. Ron DeHaven. "It will be updated regularly as new information becomes available." In addition to providing national news, the site provides contact information for state and tribal animal health authorities. The states and tribes are responsible for providing premises under their purview with a nationally unique identification numbers—the starting point of the NAIS. All states should be able to assign nationally unique premise identification numbers to locations where animals are managed or held by mid-2005. Over time, APHIS plans to add to the new Web site resources targeted to specific species and industry-segment groups. Currently, NAIS working groups comprised of industry and government representatives have been established for cattle and bison, sheep, swine, poultry, horses, llamas and alpacas, deer and elk, and livestock markets and processors. In implementing the NAIS, USDA's goal is to provide animal health officials the ability to identify all animals and premises that have had contact with a foreign or domestic animal disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery. As an information system that provides for rapid tracing of infected and exposed animals during an outbreak situation, the NAIS will help limit the scope of such outbreaks and ensure that they are contained and eradicated as quickly as possible. With the recent passage of the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act, APHIS will receive approximately $33 million for NAIS implementation. USDA also transferred $18.8 million from its Commodity Credit Corporation to APHIS during fiscal year 2004 to support the NAIS.

Read more
Monday, January 31,2005

Northern feds softer; southern trade slow

by WLJ
— Calves, yearlings both slide downward. Widening negative packer margins associated with significant declines in boxed beef prices resulted in northern fed cattle trade being $2-5 softer and southern cattle feeders still holding out for at least steady money through last Thursday. In addition, fed cattle supplies were starting to build up, particularly in Kansas and Texas, giving packers the idea they may be able to wait a week more and buy fed cattle cheaper. Dressed trade started up in Nebraska on Wednesday at mostly $140, and by Thursday midday trade had concluded with the last activity at $138-139. Limited live trade ranged between mostly $86-88, with some isolated reports of $89. No trade at all was being reported in Kansas or Texas, and analysts didn’t expect it to happen, if at all, before Friday midday. Packers were showing negative margins of $20-25 per head last Thursday, and prospects for even bigger losses appeared imminent as boxed beef prices continued to trend downward. Between last Monday and Thursday, Choice boxed beef had lost $5.89 per cwt and Select declined $6.37. As of noon Thursday Choice beef was at $146.46, and Select was at $140.93. Much of that decline was said to be the result of very lackluster U.S. beef demand during the weekend of Jan. 21-23. That sluggishness was due to the Noreaster storm that hammered the eastern seaboard and Midwest. In addition, analysts said that seasonal beef demand has been below normal and that packers aren’t needing very many cattle at all to keep up with retail beef movement. According to the analysts at HedgersEdge.com, packers only need to process 565,000 head of cattle per week to keep up with current domestic beef demand. For the week ending Jan. 22, 587,000 head of cattle were processed, meaning that more beef was produced than could be consumed. That weekly slaughter level is 60-70,000 head below “normal.” Through Thursday, last week’s slaughter volume was 471,000, 24,000 more than the same period the week prior. Several sources said slaughter for the week could end up over 600,000 head and that could result in packers getting out of the fed cattle market even more during the first couple weeks of February. However, retail sources with stores in the eastern third of the U.S. indicated that consumers will pick up their beef buying pace during the next couple of weeks. In addition, the New England states and Pennsylvania could see a run on beef demand as a large majority of football fans stock up on beef products for their “Super Bowl” parties. “That could create more empty meat case space that we will need to fill up during the first half of next month,” one eastern retailer told WLJ. Live cattle futures spent most of last week narrowly mixed as they were waiting on cash cattle trade for direction. The February contract stayed below $90 for the week, closing Thursday at $89.25, up 12 points. April closed Thursday at $87.65, while June was at $82.30. The fact that cash had been trading at a slight premium to futures most of the winter was giving prospective cattle sellers optimism that $90 was attainable. Analysts said, however, other indicators would say otherwise. Feeders, stockers struggling Feeder and stocker cattle prices both trended downward last week with lighter, more immature calves showing $2-7 declines and heavier grass cattle and yearlings losing mostly $1-3, compared to two weeks ago. Yearlings were softer last week due to a lack of support from feeder cattle futures, the bearish Jan. 1 Cattle-on-Feed Report, and animals being of poorer quality. In addition, several northern and eastern auctions cited inclement weather as deterring demand for all types of cattle. “Market adjustments are occurring due to lower feeder cattle futures beyond the spot month. Quality has been average to attractive, with feeder cattle in medium flesh. Calves in thin to medium flesh conditions,” said the market report from Oklahoma National Stockyards, Oklahoma City. That barn still had over 14,500 head move through their facility, but prices were called mostly $3-6 softer on all classes of cattle. Officials with Joplin Regional Stockyards, Joplin, MO, reported prices $2-5 softer and said, “Quality of light calves under 600 pounds not as attractive (compared to week prior). An unfavorable on-feed report and lower cash fed cattle and futures markets probably added to the price decline.” March, April and May live cattle futures contracts all closed below the $100 mark last Wednesday and Thursday. Only two contracts were over $100 last Thursday—January at $104.17 and August at $100.02. While there are a few cattle feeders showing slight profits on cattle being marketed right now, most are still in the red $30-50 per head, if not a little more. That is deterring most feeders from getting in the feeder cattle market at anywhere near steady prices, analysts said. Uncertainty surrounding the Canadian border issue is also weighing on the minds of prospective feeder cattle buyers. If the border reopening is delayed, several sources expected a rally in feeder calf prices about March. However, if it isn’t, then a further slide is being projected. The extent of that possible downtrend was not being forecasted last week. While stocker operators weren’t expected to be directly impacted by the border situation, some market analysts said demand for grass cattle was being minimized because of stocking rates already being larger than the previous five years and that most stocker operators were hoping to buy cheaper calves in the spring. “If the border does open to Canadian feeder cattle, U.S. feedlots will probably try to get some of them heavier, more mature cattle rather than bringing in lighter U.S. calves that will require more time, and expense, on feed,” a Midwest market analyst told WLJ. “That means more calves will be available for grass placement, and they may be bought for less money than right now.” During Superior Video Auction’s annual “Bellringer” auction held Jan. 19-21, the Friday calf auction appeared to be softer on calves for April delivery or later. In most instances, those cattle were $7-10 behind calves sold for immediate or February, early March delivery. Calves for immediate delivery ranged between $2 softer to $3 stronger, compared to average prices earlier that same week. The CME feeder index, for 700- to 850–pound steers, closed Wednesday at $105.15, compared to $106.36 the previous week. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 31,2005

Preliminary injunction to be filed

by WLJ
The CEO of R-CALF USA announced last week the group will file a request during the first week of February for a preliminary injunction to stop USDA from lifting its ban on imports of Canadian live cattle. Bill Bullard indicated the group will file for the preliminary injunction in U.S. district court in Montana. The injunction will ask the court to delay U.S. entry to Canadian live cattle and additional beef products, which is currently slated to begin March 7. Once R-CALF's injunction is filed, USDA will have three weeks to file a response as to why their Final Rule should be allowed to be implemented as planned. After the USDA files its brief, R-CALF will then have five days to respond. Bullard expects a hearing on the preliminary injunction to be the first week in March, right before the ban is scheduled to be lifted. Earlier this month the rancher group filed a suit for a permanent injunction on lifting the Canadian live cattle ban. Bullard spent the first part of last week in Washington, DC, meeting with aides for both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees in an effort to get congressional action against USDA's Final Rule. Citing the fact that three cases of BSE have been confirmed within Canada’s borders and the lone U.S. case goes back to a Canadian-born animal, Bullard called Canadian cattle a “health threat to herds in the U.S.” He said it should not be up to R-CALF to stop USDA from allowing Canadian cattle in, but said the Montana-based rancher group is moving forward with the preliminary injunction in case Congress does not act. USDA banned Canadian cattle in May, 2003, after Canada reported its first case of BSE. Canada exported 1.6 million head of cattle in 2002 and 491,000 head through May 2003, before the U.S. enacted the ban on Canadian cattle. The exact date when the preliminary injunction filing was not released.

Read more
Monday, January 31,2005

R-CALF meeting: Resolutions await vote

by WLJ
— Policy moves come official in early March. Members of R-CALF USA in attendance at the group’s annual convention in Denver tentatively passed several resolutions focused on preventing BSE infection of the U.S. cow herd and food supply. There was also policy proposed on international trade. Policy will be made official upon all members of the group having an opportunity to vote via mail ballot on the various resolutions. Under R-CALF’s rules, members not attending the annual convention have 45 days from the time policy is crafted to vote. The most prominent resolution passed by convention attendees was one demanding USDA immediately withdraw its interim rule declaring Canada a “minimal risk” country for BSE. The resolution went on to say USDA should revert back to a 1989 standard preventing all cattle from countries where BSE is known to exist from entering the country. A resolution also passed the floor demanding 100 percent of imported cattle and beef be required to meet all sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules, under international guidelines. From the area of international trade, the group tentatively passed a resolution asking Congress to remove the U.S. from membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) this year. A reauthorization vote for WTO membership is scheduled later this year. Proponents of that policy said the WTO undermines individual countries sovereignty by mandating trade policies. Members also passed a resolution supporting a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ban on animal protein in all livestock feeds in order to avoid any cross-contamination and prevent the potential spread of BSE. A resolution was also passed asking USDA to allow voluntary testing for BSE at USDA-approved facilities. Proponent cited support of Creekstone Farms and several other smaller beef processors that have expressed interest in testing all of the animals they slaughter in order to gain access to export markets, particularly Japan. R-CALF USA members also showed their continuing distrust in mandatory animal identification, by passing policy supporting existing identification methods, specifically branding and dangle ear tags. Several R-CALF members said there would be a lot more extra expense added to the industry by new identification regulations and that there were a lot of possible liability issues looming. Several officials with the group didn’t anticipate a lot of negative votes on any of the policies drafted during the convention because they were brought up by members after extensive discussion with many other members of the organization.

Read more
Monday, January 31,2005

Simmental Association converts EPD

by WLJ
The American Simmental Association's Percent Retail Cuts EPD will be converted to a Yield Grade (YG) EPD in the Spring 2005 Sire Summary. The ASA Board of Trustees' decision to change the Percentage Retail Cuts EPD to a Yield Grade EPD was prompted by the fact that Yield Grade is the currency the industry deals in when quantifying the relative meat yield of carcasses. "Yield Grade and Percent Retail Cuts function much like Fahrenheit and Celsius-measuring the same thing, though on a different scale," says Dr. Wade Shafer, Director of Performance Programs at ASA. "The new EPD, however, more directly reflects the way carcass data and grids define carcass cutability, or meat yield." As with all EPDs, YG is expressed as a deviation. Unlike its predecessor, however, negative values are desirable. To use it, one must keep in mind that it is in yield grade units. Therefore, lower is better. For example, a bull with a -.33 YG EPD would be expected to sire offspring that are 1/3 of a yield grade better (lower) than a zero bull. If zero bulls sired an average yield of 3.0 in a particular environment and management system, offspring of a -.33 bull would be expected to have an average yield grade of 2.67 (1/3 of a yield grade better/lower). For more information about YG EPDs or our Spring 2005 Sire Summary, please visit our website at www.simmental.org, or call Dr. Wade Shafer at 406/587-4531. — WLJ

Read more
Monday, January 24,2005

Beef Bits

by WLJ
National beef packers report first quarter results National Beef Packers reported a net loss of $4.4 million in the first quarter ended Nov. 27, as sales dipped very slightly, from $1.058 billion to $1.051 billion. In the first quarter a year ago, the company showed a net profit of $19 million. Chief Executive John Miller blamed the declining results mainly on the closure of the Canadian and Japanese borders. The Canadian border closing has deprived the market of about 1.5 million cattle, leading to short supply and higher prices for live cattle, even as Canada ships the equivalent of over a million cattle to the United States in the form of low—priced boxed beef. The company announced last week that it was cutting back on slaughtering until supplies and prices improve. Australia gains more Japan share Australian beef overtook Japanese domestic beef in terms of market share in 2004, making up 50 percent of total market volume. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry announced that 290,000 metric tons of Australian beef was supplied to Japanese consumers between January and September 2004. Japanese domestic beef made up 260,000 metric tons, or 44 percent of total beef in 2004. In 2003, 37 percent of the market share was accounted for by domestic beef, 32 percent by Australian beef and 30 percent by U.S. beef. In 2004, Australia sent record volumes of beef to Japan, with a total of 393,471 tons exported. BSE prevention in North America meeting NMA co-hosting a meeting with other industry groups on "BSE Prevention in North America: An Analysis of the Science and Risk" on January 27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the current BSE situation in North America and to identify and analyze options that may be needed to further reduce BSE risk. The conference will result in a better understanding of the science and risk associated with BSE prevention measures implemented in North America. The conference is designed to provide information for United States and Canadian governmental agencies and other interested parties to make informed risk management decisions. SD checkoff proposed Even as the Supreme Court considers whether the mandatory national beef checkoff program is constitutional, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association members have indicated the desire to start a similar voluntary program. With the new program, producers would contribute 50 cents every time they sell a calf. Instead of going to promote generic beef, that money would be used for producer priorities. “It's a self–help program for U.S. producers to have exactly what they need which is legislation input and advocacy at the national level, as well as the research and then the grassroots push from the producers so it ties those things in together and gives U.S. producers a voice,” said association executive director Carrie Longwood. Plumrose USA plans expansion Officials at Plumrose USA are planning an expansion to add new meat slicing lines to the company's facility in Booneville, MS. The plant is currently running three shifts and has recently added 80 new jobs and two slicing lines. The facility slices sandwich meats, including beef products. Work on the 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot addition will begin in October and is expected to be complete in early 2006.

Read more
Monday, January 24,2005

Canada releases feed findings

by WLJ
Random tests conducted by the Canadian government recently discovered that four brands of Canadian cattle feed were in violation of the nation’s ban on animal protein in cattle feed. With the increasing number of cases of BSE being discovered in Canada, the Canadian Food (CFIA) Inspection Agency and two U.S. trade teams are taking a more thorough look into the compliance with the 1997 ban on ruminant-to-ruminant feeding. In total, 110 samples were collected between January and March of 2004. Microscopic examinations of these samples distinguished animal material in 66 of the 110 samples. Sergio Tolusso, CFIA’s feed program coordinator, said in some of these cases, animal material was found in feed ingredients such as cereals and cereal screenings that could be used in feeds for ruminants. In the other cases, animal materials were detected in feedstuffs manufactured for ruminants such as beef and dairy cattle feeds, as well as sheep. Because of these results, Canadian officials decided to inspect feed mills. Upon completion of the inspections, Tolusso said, “There were some cases where it was more likely than others that it could be ruminant protein.” Tolusso later said with the test they used (feed microscopic analysis), they could not positively identify the protein material as bovine, or any species, therefore no feed was recalled. CFIA is still looking into the test results and plans to release more detailed information on their findings in the next week or two. In the meantime, Tolusso said, “We are looking at four cases where we thought it (the protein material) could be material of ruminant origin.” Canada is not entirely to blame for these discovered violations. According to Tolusso, 45 of the samples they took were of imported origin, and some of those feeds did originate in the U.S. “We have some information on the source of the feeds,” said Tolusso. “As this was not a compliance exercise, our approach to get information was to contact the feed importers and get them to approach their suppliers (exporters) for additional information. We are still in the process of compiling that information.” When asked if Canada will continue to import feed from those suppliers, Tolusso replied, “Unlike the FDA action against Canadian feed exporters in 2003, we do not have any immediate plans to sanction any feed exporters on the basis of the findings of this test trial.” Canada does have plans to ban the use of bovine specified risk material in all feed, not just in feed labeled for cattle and sheep. This proposal is out for public comment, but has not yet come into effect. Similar to the U.S., Canada did ban the use of ruminants in feed for cattle and other ruminants in 1997. This is known as the ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, but Canadian feed mills were still allowed to use these products in feed for chicken and pigs. Chicken and pig remains can also be fed to cattle. Micheal McBane, a member of the lobbyist group Canadian Health Coalition, told the Canadian press, “Even after confirming cases of BSE, we’re still not cleaning up the feed system. We’re basically playing Russian roulette and for what benefit? The export market has been closed and we’re still being caught with contaminated feed.” Tolusso down-played the idea that any of this feed could lead to the spread of BSE in Canada. He said there was little risk that the ruminant remains in the tainted feeds were infected with BSE because the incidence of the disease in Canada is low. Furthermore, Tolusso explained that comprehensive inspections of feed mills are conducted once a year. A spokeswoman for federal Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell, Christine Aquino said regular inspections and audits of the country’s 550 feed mills have shown “a very high compliance” with the feed ban. Tolusso said the detailed report of their feed testing trial will be posted on their website www.inspection.gc.ca when it is available.

Read more
Monday, January 24,2005

Environmental changes lead to more low-quality forage

by WLJ
Producers are well aware of the environmental changes that have evolved over the past decade or two. But, are producers prepared for future changes to the environment? Agriculture Research Service (ARS) scientists want producers to be aware that the ongoing drought may not be the only difficultly they need to account for in their production operation. These scientists are saying that elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may reduce forage quality, leading to reduced weight gain or more costly gain for livestock. Plant physiologist Jack Morgan at Colorado State University lead the study with ARS colleagues and cooperators. Morgan explained that researchers have noticed a steady rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the last 150 years. Scientists expect the level of CO2 to keep rising mainly because of fossil-fuel burning, forest clearing and industrial manufacturing. If the theory of the intergovernmental panel on climate change holds true, atmospheric CO2 concentrations will double from today’s levels by the end of the 21st Century. In short, this will mean that the increased level of CO2 in the air will cause forage quality to drastically decline and leave producers with lesser quality feedstuffs. To test the possible effects, Morgan said researchers constructed six large chambers and installed them over native shortgrass prairie vegetation at the USDA ARS Central Plains Experimental Range in northeastern Colorado. Each chamber contained more than 25 different plant species, but was dominated by three perennial native grass species. This plant community was characteristic of vegetation grown in semi-arid grassland for thousands of years. The study was conducted over five years. During this time, half of the chambers were maintained at present atmospheric conditions of carbon dioxide. The other half of the chambers were enriched in CO2 to double the present carbon dioxide concentration from today’s concentration of about 360 parts per millions of CO2 to 720 parts per million-the expected level at the end of this century. Morgan said researchers found that increasing CO2 also increased plant growth. On average, more than a 40 percent increase in plant production occurred under doubled CO2 conditions. However, while there were more plants, forage quality declined in all three of the dominant grasses. The researchers primarily contributed the drop in quality to a decline in nitrogen concentration, or crude protein, in the plant shoots. “One might think that even with a decline in forage quality, this may not sound so bad since production increases so much,” said Morgan. “However, livestock performance can be limited by forage quality, and a decline in quality on native grasslands, where soil nutrients are not nearly as abundant as they can be in improved pastures, can have a significant negative impact on animal performance.” Many of the ARS colleagues share the opinion with Morgan that the decline in forage quality due to rising atmospheric CO2 may be one of the more important issues of global change facing ranchers. Of course, these researchers don’t want producers to be alarmed and think this will happen over night. Instead, scientists agreed that this will be a gradual change that will unfold over decades. “This study suggests that over the long haul, rising CO2 may significantly decrease forage quality across our native rangelands,” said Morgan. “The significance of this to cow/calf producers is that rising atmospheric CO2 may slowly be degrading the quality of native grasses their animals rely on.” Because this is such a critical matter for producers, the Rangeland Resources Research Unit has decided to continue its research. The next step Morgan says is trying to understand how rising levels of atmospheric CO2 affect the nitrogen cycle in nature. In conjunction with that study, one of the objectives is to determine whether there might be economical means to solve the problem of declining forage quality in native rangelands. The Fort Collins research station is also conducting research on grazing practices that may result in trapping more CO2 in rangeland soils. One theory is that producers could be able to inter-seed legumes into rangelands, which may improve the forage quality and also lead to more soil carbon storage. When asked what producers can do about the problem now, Morgan said there isn’t really a whole lot they can do, other than watch for research data which will suggest a solution. “At this point, I think this is an issue that producers and researchers ought to know about, just like we need to understand the long-term consequences of air pollution on human health,” said Morgan. “We are likely many years from solving this problem, but we wouldn’t be able to do much unless we know there is a problem in the first place.”

Read more
Monday, January 24,2005

Letter

by WLJ
Shoot, shovel and shut-up Letter to the Editor, On Jan. 11, Canada announced another case of BSE in a beef cow that was born after the 1997 feed ban. I was not surprised by this finding, as our USDA has said that there could be up to 11 animals found before Canada would surpass the “minimum risk” category. However, I was greatly surprised when my uncle from Alberta gave me a call this morning. He stated that the Premier has instigated the “Shoot, shovel and shut-up” policy. Basically he has told the farmers and ranchers that if they have any animal that may be a high risk that they should shoot the animal, bury it and shut up about what they have done. Not only was I surprised but was awestruck. My uncle also advised me that the people in his area have not been eating beef due to these past circumstances and that I should notify my Congressmen and Senators of this whole ordeal. I have notified both. I truly believe that trade with Canada is very important, but not at the price of the people of the U.S. First, let’s protect ourselves by closing the border to Canadian beef and cattle. Second, let Canada get their cows in a row in the next year or two, then see about opening our borders to their beef and cattle. I know now that when I visit my uncle next fall that we will not be eating beef at his house. Sincerely, Corey Gall Tripp, SD

Read more
 
 
User Box (click to open)
 
SEARCH IN WLJ
Sign up for our newsletter!
   
 
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7* 8* 9 10* 11*
12* 13* 14* 15 16* 17* 18*
19* 20* 21* 22 23 24 25*
26 27* 28 29* 30 31*
 
 

© Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use, without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. 2008 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.