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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alabama Mad Cows / June 2006

Report: 2006

Statement by Wenonah Hauter, executive director, Food & Water Watch

Today’s news report that a third cow with mad cow disease has been found in Alabama brings us once again to questions we’ve been asking for more than five years now: Why isn’t there a mandatory system in place to report suspect animals? When is the Animal and Plant Inspection Service going to address the problems with the sampling in its surveillance program? Why isn’t the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fixing the loopholes in the animal feed ban that would prevent mad cow from even being an issue?

We applaud the farmer who did the right thing by turning over the sick cow in question to a veterinarian for testing. But this is still a voluntary system that must be made mandatory for the sake of public health. Without a mandatory reporting system, who knows what else is out there?

The USDA surveillance system still has problems – even the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own inspector general deeply criticized the system, and still there has been little action taken to fix the identified problems.

We urge USDA to continue its heightened surveillance program and to fight for more money in its 2007 budget for continued testing. As it currently stands, the fiscal budget for 2007 only provides for 40,000 tests. This is insufficient.

Mad cow disease will not go away on its own. The government must admit there’s a problem and take the necessary steps to fix the problems and protect all consumers.

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