Click on text below to see the vid

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Consumption of Smoked and Cured Meat Linked to Leukemia

A new study shows that consumption of cured and smoked meat and fish is
correlated to the risk of leukemia, the most common form of cancer in children,
while higher consumption of vegetables and bean-curd is associated with
reduced risk. This population-based study in Taiwan compared 145 acute leukemia
cases to 370 matched controls, ages 2 to 20 years old. A suggested reason for
the increased risk is the formation of carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in the
stomach upon consumption of smoked and cured meats.
Liu C, Hsu Y, Wu M, et al. Cured meat, vegetables, and bean-curd foods in
relation to childhood acute leukemia risk: A population based case-control
study. BMC Cancer 2009;9:15. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-15.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Cattle Sales Rising

Jan 29 2009 11:29PM


Typically late fall and beginning of a year - livestock sale rings are buzzing with activity but by now the rush of cattle sales tends to slow down. But not during a winter like this.

A short hay crop last year, and heavy snow and bitter cold is causing long lines at Northern Livestock Auction in Minot.

Livestock producers are selling off cattle at record rates. Some who would normally hold their animals for 2 to 3 years are selling out now.

The deep snow means difficulty in getting to livestock, and food is hard to get to, while corrals are filling up with snow. The price of cattle is also having an impact on sales.

(Marlyn Hagen, Manager, Northern Livestock) "Last week for probably eight hours they were lined up double and triple in the lot here and down both ways from the highway and we had them stacked up over in Farstad's. Bookkeeper went out with cards and gave them numbers so they knew what order to come in. We had 4200 head last week which is asnormaland I imagine we will have between two and three thousand this week."

Twice this year Northern Livestock officials have delayed the auction because they have not been ready for the normal Friday sale due to the high volume of cattle. watch the video | save this article / add to your favorites list

Click on title above to see video;

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our well-connected USDA chief

USDA chief made $100k from an Iowa power company

Posted by Tom Philpott, The GristMill, at 12:43 PM on 28 Jan 2009

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's income included $300,000 from the law and lobbying firm Dorsey and Whitney in Des Moines, Iowa; $100,000 consulting for MidAmerican Energy; $63,000 from Iowa State University; and $55,000 from other sources, including honoraria, a fellowship, a director's fee and consulting. In addition, he and his wife have $500,000 to $1 million in farmland that yielded $15,000 to $50,000 in rent, plus $7,552 from a U.S. Agriculture Department Conservation Reserve Program.
I've mentioned before that Vilsack recently stepped down from a partner role at Dorsey & Whitney, a corporate law firm that has represented Cargill, ConAgra, and other agribiz giants.

Some folks want to make a big deal about Vilsack making $7,552 from the Conservation Reserve Program. Not me. I'd rather see him idle land under CRP than drench it with agrichemicals to grow industrial corn.

The $63,000 from Iowa State University must be a reference to his role at that institution's Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products, where until recently he sat on the advisory board with representatives of Monsanto, Dupont's Pioneer Hi-Bred, and the World Bank. But I already knew about that.

What gets me is the $100K in consulting for MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican Energy Holdings describes itself like this:

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company is a global leader in the production of energy from diversified fuel sources including geothermal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, coal and wind. MidAmerican also leads in the supply and distribution of energy in the U.S. and U.K. consumer markets, with approximately 6.9 million electricity and gas customers.
Wow -- that's kind of big. As for MidAmerican Energy, the company's Des Moines-based Midwestern subsidiary:

MidAmerican Energy Company is the largest utility in Iowa and is strategically located in the middle of several major markets in the Midwest. We provide service to more than 720,000 electric customers and more than 702,000 natural gas customers in a 10,600 square-mile area from Sioux Falls, S.D. to the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois.
And the generation mix of its electricity?

MidAmerican has more than 6,700 megawatts of generating capability: approximately 55 percent fueled by coal; 22 percent natural gas and oil; 10 percent nuclear; and 13 percent wind, hydroelectric and biomass.
I know we're all supposed to rally around Vilsack and nudge him to support sustainable-ag policies. But I remain uneasy about his ties to agribiz and and old-line energy firms.

However, it should be noted that while this recent Washington Times piece documents some pretty hot-and-heavy footsie between Vilsack and MidAmerican, starting when the latter was Iowa's governor, it does portray him as pushing the company in the direction of wind power. That's something. Crony capitalism we can believe in?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mad Cow News, 2003: The More Things Change....

...the more they stay the same. Going back into the "way back" machine, here is a UPI news release from 2003 that shows the state of affairs of our "Mad Cow Nation" and the USDAs stance in 2003, which hasent changed much at all today;

USDA refused to release mad cow records

Dec. 30, 2003

By STEVE MITCHELL United Press International
The United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, but for six months the agency repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International.

The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July.

In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals.

USDA Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced late Tuesday during a hastily scheduled news briefing that a cow slaughtered Dec. 9 on a farm in Mabton, Wash., had tested positive for mad cow disease. The farm has been quarantined but the meat from the animal may have already passed into the human food supply.

The slaughtered meat was sent for processing to Midway Meats in Washington and the USDA is currently trying to trace if the meat went for human consumption, Veneman said.

The fear is mad cow disease can infect humans and cause a brain-wasting condition known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease that is always fatal. More than 100 people contracted this disease in the United Kingdom after a widespread outbreak of mad cow disease in that country in the 1980s.

An outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States has the potential to dwarf the situation in the United Kingdom because the American beef industry is far larger and U.S. beef is exported to countries all over the globe.

"We're talking about billions of people" around the world who potentially have been exposed to U.S. beef, Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian who has been insisting mad cow is present in American herds for years, told UPI.

The USDA insisted the case is probably isolated and the US beef supply is safe. "I plan to serve beef for my Christmas dinner," Veneman said, "and we remain confident in the safety of our food supply."

Responded Friedlander: "She might as well kiss her (behind) goodbye, then."

Veneman went on to say she had confidence in the USDA surveillance system for detecting mad cow and protecting the public, noting the agency has tested more than 20,000 cattle for the disease this year.

This represents only a small percentage of the millions of cows in the U.S. herd, however, and experts say current procedures are unlikely to detect mad cow.

The Washington cow was tested because it was a so-called downer cow -- a cow unable to stand on its own -- which is one possible sign of mad cow disease. However, the United States sees approximately 200,000 of these per year or about 10 times as many animals as are tested for the disease.

USDA officials told UPI as recently as Dec. 17 the agency still is searching for documentation of its mad cow testing results from 2002 and 2003.

UPI initially requested the documents on July 10, and the agency sent a response letter dated July 24, saying it had launched a search for any documents pertaining to mad cow tests from 2002 and 2003.

"If any documents exist, they will be forwarded," USDA official Michael Marquis wrote in the letter.

Despite this and a 30-day limit under the Freedom of Information Act on responding to such a request, the USDA never sent any corresponding documents. The agency's FOI office also did not return several calls from UPI placed over a series of months.

Finally, UPI threatened legal action in early December if the agency did not respond.

In a Dec. 17 letter to UPI from USDA Freedom of Information Act Office Andrea E. Fowler, the agency wrote: "Your request has been forwarded to the (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) for processing and to search for the record responsive to your earlier request."

To date, the USDA has not said if any records exist or if they will be sent to UPI.

"It's always concerned me that they haven't used the same rapid testing technique that's used in Europe," where mad cow has been detected in several additional countries outside of the United Kingdom, Michael Schwochert, a retired USDA veterinarian in Ft. Morgan, Colo., told UPI.

"It was almost like they didn't want to find mad cow disease," Schwochert said.

He noted he had been informed that approximately six months ago a cow displaying symptoms suggestive of mad cow disease showed up at the X-cel slaughtering plant in Ft. Morgan.

Once cows are unloaded off the truck they are required to be inspected by USDA veterinarians. However, the cow was spotted by plant employees before USDA officials saw it and "it went back out on a special truck and they called the guys in the office and said don't say anything about this," Schwochert said.

Veneman said the Washington case "does not pose any kind of significant risk to the human food chain."

Friedlander called that assessment, "B.S." Referring to the USDA's failure to provide their testing documentation to UPI, he said, "The government doesn't have records to substantiate their testing so how do they know whether this is an isolated case." The agency also cannot provide any assurance that this animal did not get processed for human consumption, he said.

Schwochert agreed with that, saying the USDA's sparse testing means they cannot say with any confidence whether there are additional cases or not.

Both Schwochert and Friedlander said the report of a mad cow case would devastate the U.S. beef industry.

"It scares the hell out of me what it's going to do to the cattle industry," Schwochert said. "This could be catastrophic."

Only hours after Veneman's announcement, Japan -- the biggest importer of U.S. beef -- and South Korea both banned the importation of American meat.

The American Meat Institute, a trade group in Arlington, Va., representing the U.S. meat and poultry industry, maintained the U.S. beef supply is safe for human consumption.

"First and foremost, the U.S. beef supply is safe," AMI spokesman Dan Murphy told UPI. "We think its safe for U.S. consumers to eat."

This is because infectious prions, thought to be the causative agent of mad cow and vCJD, are not found in muscle tissue that comprises hamburgers and steaks, he said. They are generally located in brain and spinal cord tissue.

However, recent studies have suggested prions may occur, albeit in smaller numbers, in muscle tissue, and bits of brain and spinal cord tissue have been detected in hamburger meat.

Other protective measures have also been put in place that should protect consumers, Murphy said.

Mad cow disease is thought to be spread by feeding infected cow tissue back to cattle -- a practice that was common in the United Kingdom and is thought to have contributed to their widespread outbreak. The practice has been banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration since 1997, which should help ensure this is "an isolated case," Murphy said.

A report from the General Accounting Office issued just last year, however, found some ranchers in the United States still violate the feed ban and do feed cow tissue to cattle.

The GAO concluded: "While (mad cow disease) has not been found in the United States, federal actions do not sufficiently ensure that all (mad cow)-infected animals or products are kept out or that if (mad cow) were found, it would be detected promptly and not spread to other cattle through animal feed or enter the human food supply."


Steve Mitchell is UPI's medical correspondent. E-mail

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chondroitin, purveyor of Mad Cow Disease?

Because chondroitin is made from bovine products, there is the remote possibility of contamination associated with mad cow disease....

Click on title above for full article;

IBM to provide network to monitor cattle

Here is a two-year old story. I am just wondering what became of this plan?

By PAUL FOY Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — IBM Corp. is teaming up with a Utah company that offers a remote system to transmit the body temperature of cattle to ranchers, dairy farmers, feedlot owners and government regulators. IBM said Thursday it will provide network services to monitor-millions of cattle at a time for TekVet of North Salt Lake, a company that developed a battery-powered transmitter with a flexible thermometer that can fit inside a cow's ear.
A microprocessor can identify an animal and its life history, show its approximate location and log body temperature once an hour, giving livestock owners an early warning of health problems that could lead to an outbreak of disease.

"The cattle industry is basically the last frontier for technology to conquer. This s an industry that's been untouched for the most part by technology," Tali Haleua, chairman and president of TekVet, a company he started in 2003, said Thursday. "It could ultimately help protect our food supply."

His device was designed for cattle, but Haleua said he was working on systems for pigs, goats, sheep "and anything with four legs and a tail."

TekVet is working to extend the range of the transmitter, which can beam a cow's vitals several hundred yards to field receivers.

The company will upload the data from the receivers via satellite to an IBM data center in Phoenix, where computer servers will collect the information for secure distribution on the Internet.

Haleua said TekVet's sensor, which can be reused five times, and network services will be priced at $20 (U.S.), which translates into a cost of about $3.30 per animal — less than the cost of a static radio frequency identification device, which doesn't monitor body temperature.

Although some reports have suggested TekVet's temperature sensor can detect mad cow disease, Haleua said the disease doesn't affect body temperature. But more common ailments can trigger a rise in an animal's body temperature, he said.

Utah State University has agreed to use the system for research in beef and dairy cattle.

TekVet is focusing its sales efforts in the U.S. and major beef producing countries throughout Latin America and Asia. The company selected IBM for its ability to integrate data for a global enterprise.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

R-CALF: Group Urges Vilsack To Immediately Redress 3 Rulemaking Blunders

Washington, D.C. – Today, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was confirmed to be this nation’s next Agriculture Secretary, and R-CALF USA wasted no time in sending Vilsack a formal letter not only to congratulate him on his confirmation, but also to seek his immediate assistance in redressing three fundamental rulemaking-related blunders made by the previous Administration and the previous U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

R-CALF USA members have literally expended millions of dollars over the past several years to fund our intense, heated fight against the previous Administration’s efforts to: 1) willfully expose U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd to an unnecessary and avoidable risk of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease); 2) prevent U.S. cattle producers from distinguishing beef produced exclusively from their cattle – born, raised and slaughtered in the United States; and, 3) dismantle historically successful disease prevention and control programs and to substitute them with an unproven, intrusive and ill-conceived National Animal Identification System (NAIS) scheme that constitutes a national premises registration for private property, both personal (i.e., livestock) and real (i.e., land).

Specifically, R-CALF USA urged Vilsack to take the following actions within the first few days of President Barack Obama’s Administration:

* Fully rescind the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’) rulemaking in Docket No. APHIS-2006-0041, commonly known as the over-30-month rule (OTM Rule). The agency’s own risk modeling predicts that the OTM Rule will result in the introduction of between 19 and 105 BSE-infected Canadian cattle, resulting in two to 75 BSE infections of U.S. cattle over the next 20 years. R-CALF USA, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, five national consumer groups and several individual ranchers won a preliminary injunction in U.S. district court on July 3, 2008, that required the agency to reopen the rulemaking for this docket. The new rulemaking is Docket No. APHIS 2008-0093, and no final agency action is evident in the Federal Register.

* Modify the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS’) final rule for mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL), in Docket No. AMS-LS-07-0081, which is scheduled to take effect March 16, 2009. The final rule defies Congress’ intent to distinguish meat produced from animals exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the United States with a USA label. Instead, the final rule allows meatpackers to mislabel beef exclusively of U.S. origin with a mixed-origin label (e.g., “Product of the United States, Canada, and Mexico”) if the meatpacker responsible for making an origin declaration commingles any amount of meat derived from imported cattle during the meatpackers’ production day. In addition, the final rule improperly limits commodities subject to labeling requirements if the commodity undergoes minor processing.

* Rescind all actions by APHIS to register the premises of livestock owners under the agency’s proposed NAIS, including the agency’s Veterinary Services Memorandum No. 575.19 dated Dec. 22, 2008, and the agency’s Jan. 13, 2009, proposed rule in Docket No. APHIS 2007-0096. Together, these actions usurp Congress’ authority by effectively mandating NAIS participation, including premises registration, by producers that participate in any number of federal disease programs.

“APHIS is trampling over the rights of U.S. livestock owners and the states in its attempt to compile a national registry of individuals’ premises and their livestock,” wrote R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “R-CALF USA looks forward to working with you to improve APHIS’ ability to control disease outbreaks in a manner that is more cost-effective than NAIS and that does not intrude on the rights of independent cattle producers.

“Fundamental changes are needed in the agency you now lead, and R-CALF USA looks forward to working with you to accomplish the goal of re-establishing USDA as an agency that furthers U.S. agriculture by properly balancing the interests of agricultural producers, food consumers, and industry agribusinesses,” Thornsberry said.

“The U.S. cattle industry and U.S. consumers would benefit greatly by the three actions described above,” he added.

“It is our belief that USDA’s severely damaged credibility, which resulted from the agency’s irresponsible pursuits described in each of the forgoing requests, would be substantially restored if these matters were to be expeditiously addressed under your leadership,” Thornsberry concluded. “R-CALF USA has submitted comprehensive comments on each of these issues to the agency. We are available to meet with you and/or your staff at your convenience to further discuss the urgent need for these actions

More Doomed TB Infected Deer Found at Sunnyview

Order to put down deer herd protested
State tells farmers to euthanize pets after TB infection discovered

First published in print: Saturday, January 24, 2009

GHENT The owners of a Columbia County farm where a tuberculosis-infected deer was found this fall are protesting a decision by the state to euthanize their entire herd of pet animals.

State Veterinarian John Huntley said Friday the risk that seemingly healthy deer may have been exposed to the infectious illness is too great to ignore. But the owners of Sunnyview Farm said the deer were in a separate herd kept elsewhere on the farm and show no sign of infection.

"No one is enjoying having to do this," Huntley said, of his order to next week euthanize a herd of 10 red deer kept at the farm. "But we cannot take the risk that tuberculosis could spread into the wild deer population or into cattle."

The disease is transmitted between cattle and deer by nose-to-nose contact as well as by sharing feed and water.

Last year, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets euthanized three fallow deer at Sunnyview Farm after a doe was found in October to carry TB, the source of which is still unknown, Huntley said. Although the animals tested negative for TB last year, the farm's herd of red deer still do not meet the state's rules for "biosecurity" for several reasons, he said.

Both herds were handled in common pen areas, common mowing equipment was used in both fields, and the farm's hired hands worked with both herds, Huntley added.

Suzanne Meddoff, the farm's manager since 1989, disputed that, saying there was a three-year gap between when the two herds were in the common working pen and that the pasture of the red deer herd was not mowed this last season. Both herds were kept fenced in, although contact with wild animals was possible at the fence line.

All farm workers have tested negative for TB, and the state is refusing to conduct a second TB test on the red deer herd, she said, adding, "the owners of the farm are upset that the state is going to kill all their animals basically for nothing."

However, farm owners Daniel and Simon Levy have little legal recourse, she said. "The only thing we could do would be to bar the state entrance to the farm, and they would just get a court order to come in anyway."

Huntley said he understood the Levys' unhappiness, "but the opportunity for transmission, and the consequences of missing something are so significant that it requires us to take this seriously."

A federal agricultural program will compensate the Levys for the market value of the deer, he said, although because of the advanced ages of the animals that figure likely would be minimal,

Brian Nearing can be reached at 454-5094 or by email at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chicago Health Chief Calls on Everyone to "Go Vegetarian"

City health chief's food fight targets meat ! He encourages vegetarian diet for January

By Deborah L. SheltonTribune reporter January 9, 2009
Chicago health commissioner Dr. Terry Mason has a message for Chicagoans who enjoy devouring meat in all its fat-dripping, artery-clogging glory: Don't do it.

As part of his campaign to slim down waists and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol citywide, Mason is encouraging everyone to join him in going vegetarian for January.

"For the entire month, I'm not eating any meat," he has told listeners to his Sunday morning radio show, "Doctor in the House," on WVON-AM. "If it walks, runs, hops, flies, swims, crawls or slithers, I won't eat it. If it has eyes, I won't eat it. If it had a momma and a daddy, I won't eat it. . . . I'm going to focus on eating a healthy and delicious variety of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. . . . And I want you to do the same."

In a city famous for Italian beef, Polish sausage and deep dish pizza, his call for a meatless month may sound downright blasphemous. But Mason, a physician who has a medical practice in urology, appears undaunted, and for good reason.

In this food fight, Mason has been amassing troops to his side.

On a blustery, snowy night this week, his call to good health drew dozens to the Soul Vegetarian East restaurant on East 75th Street. During his talk on healthy eating, Mason asked how many planned to go meatless all month, and a packed room of hands flew up.

Score one for broccoli.

In some circles, vegetarianism wouldn't seem like such a radical idea. But a meal without meat is not something that has caught on with many urban blacks, the group Mason is making a special effort to target. African-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and many other health problems linked to high-fat foods.

This is Mason's fourth year campaigning for a meatless January. Paul Ellison, 71, of the Far South Side enlisted in the healthy eating crusade three years ago and then decided to forgo meat for good.

"It hasn't been that hard either," said Ellison, who has lost 40 pounds on a vegetarian diet.

For Mason, animal fats are enemy No. 1. He has stared down this enemy and it looks a lot like pork chops smothered with dressing, rib tips dripping in greasy barbecue sauce and hamburgers heaped with cheese.

Mason said his vegetarianism lasted seven months last year and he plans to stay with it for good this time. Mason suffers from high cholesterol and had a coronary stent implanted in 2005. Both of his parents died young of cancer—his mother at 51 and his father at 39.

In the crowd this week at Soul Vegetarian East were Dorothy Carpenter of Roseland, an education consultant, and Carpenter's daughter Raegan Tall, a child welfare specialist who lives in West Pullman. The two hung on Mason's every word.

Carpenter said she fell into a diabetic coma for 11 days in 2007, and her doctor told her it was a miracle she survived. She admits to a lifetime of bad eating habits and figures she needs to lose at least 100 pounds.

Tall, recently married, wants to get pregnant one day but would like to lose weight first to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy offspring.

"We've done a lot of diets, but it really is a lifestyle change," Tall said. "We aren't scared to try."

Mason chose January to launch his campaign, which he calls Re-Start, because "we have just finished a season of gluttony," he explained. "We started in Thanksgiving and went right through Jan. 1. That's when we ate more, drank more, did all the mores that we shouldn't have."

Walking around the room Wednesday night, he asked people why they came to the meeting.

"I came to get a jump start on eating right," one woman said. "I don't do bad but I could do a whole lot better."

Another woman said simply: "I love my life and want to live longer."

Next week, the group heads to Farmers Best Market on West 47th Street, where they will learn how to select the freshest fruits and vegetables and tell the difference between slick mustard greens and curly mustard greens, among other things.

The following week, an exercise physiologist will teach safe and effective exercises for getting in shape.

Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, praised Mason's efforts.

"Typically a vegetarian diet is a healthier diet," said Giancoli, a registered dietitian. "People who follow more plant-based diets have better health outcomes—lower rates of chronic disease and lower rates of obesity. We all need to be moving more toward a plant-based diet."

Giancoli said cutting back on animal foods doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. For example, she noted the benefits of getting omega-3 fatty acids from fish.

"I tend to err on the side of caution and include this in the diet," she said.

Mason has advised the soon-to-be-meatless to drink at least a half-gallon of water daily and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, beans and peas. He said some people might need vitamin B-12 supplements.

"I'd love to see people stick with it and make it a lifestyle," Mason said of vegetarianism. "But the goal is to help people see the benefits of a plant-based diet."

While Mason's approach is more smiling cheerleader than stern lecturer, he had his moments, such as when he admonished men who insist on filling their car's tank with the highest grade gasoline but fill their bellies with greasy rib tips and fries.

"You put the good fuel in your car and put the bad fuel in your bodies," Mason chided. "What sense does that make?"


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ex-USDA worker accused in prostitution case

Associated Press Writer
Thursday, January 15, 2009

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kansas City is charged with running an online prostitution business through her office computer, according to a federal indictment released Wednesday.

Laurie Lynn McConnell, 26, was arrested Wednesday along with a second suspect, John O. Miller, 36. Both are from Kansas City. Miller was not a USDA employee.

Neither suspect had a listed phone number, and it was not known if either had an attorney.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis, which announced the indictments, some of the women hired as prostitutes were from St. Louis. Others were from Kansas City and Tennessee. The women allegedly worked as prostitutes in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas.

“It is always disappointing when federal government employees misuse government resources,” said Michael Reap, assistant U.S. attorney in St. Louis. “However, it is deeply disturbing when those resources are utilized to commit a crime and exploit women.”

McConnell was a statistician with the USDA Risk Management Agency from August 2003 until she resigned in April 2008, said USDA spokeswoman Shirley Pugh, who declined further comment.

The indictment alleges that Miller and McConnell ran two online prostitution businesses — “Darc Phoenix” and “USA Honies” — from Miller’s computer at USDA. They allegedly placed advertisements on several Web sites and in newspapers that included the weekly Riverfront Times in St. Louis and The Pitch in Kansas City.

The indictment was returned in December but remained sealed until the suspects were arrested. Both could face five to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The Office of Inspector General said through a spokesman that it doesn’t comment on investigations.

Published: Thursday, January 15, 2009.
Updated: Thursday, January 15, 2009 10:58 AM CST

Monday, January 19, 2009

Canadas Take on the new U.S. Administration

Globe Roundtable
Globe and Mail Update

EDWARD GREENSPON: Hello, I'm Ed Greenspon, Editor and Chief of The Globe and Mail. Welcome to the Globe Round Table. Not the inaugural edition for sure, but the last one before the inauguration next Tuesday, Barack Obama as President of the United States. We'll start this morning with the new U.S. administration and its meaning for Canada and the world. We may also touch upon some of the other stories gracing the front page of Canada's national newspaper today. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says Canada won't get out of debt for at least five years, though we can probably afford it. Nortel, once Canada's proudest global champion has filed for bankruptcy after a decade of decline. And the Vancouver Olympics, well remember former Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau said the Olympics could no more have a deficit than a man could have a baby? Well, is Vancouver in labour? To help us sort through this and whatever mysterious directions they decide to take the conversation I am joined by our Round Table regulars. Jodi White the recently departed President of the Public Policy Forum and a former Chief of Staff to Joe Clark and Kim Campbell. Doug McArthur, the Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. A former Cabinet Minister in Saskatchewan and Deputy Minister to two Premiers in British Columbia. And John Manley, Senior Counsel of the law firm of McCarthy Tetrault and Canada's former Minister of Industry, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. Welcome to you all.

ALL: Morning, Morning, Hi.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Hi there. Alright, well why don't we start today in the global capital to the south. Next week it will be President Obama. We've heard a lot from him in recent days, more so probably than usually one does from a President Elect. I guess my questions are — is he ready? And — what does he mean for Canada? Jodi why don't we start with you?

JODI WHITE: Is he ready? Wow, well who will ever know. He wouldn't be able to answer that — or he would answer that question positively. I think he's as ready as he's going to be. I think the biggest danger actually are the expectations are so high and that is not a great place for a politician to be most of the time. However, it is … it's fun to watch the excitement both in this country and in the United States of the Inauguration. I thought it was intriguing yesterday with Hillary Clinton in her … her hearings for her nomination that she did mention Canada and I don't want to say that as being somebody who watches for somebody ever mentioning Canada in Washington and thinking — oh gosh, that means we're important. But I thought she made a strong case about the neighbours and I don't think that's usual for a Secretary of State to talk about the two neighbours in that way. So that, I thought that was a signal and it ties in perhaps with the announcement that in fact President Obama will come to Canada some time soon as his first foreign visit and that has historically been important and didn't happen with President Bush. But I think now the onus is absolutely on Canada to make sure that we've got good messages. That we move in there as quickly as we can. With a strategy of our own in terms of trying to build this relationship and put it back into the place where it needs to be on a number of the key issues.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Doug — what sort of strategy do we need and are we going to be on the radar screen in Washington?

DOUG McARTHUR: Well I think Obama's going to be pretty occupied right off the start with three things that are more or less handed to him as he comes in. In the Israeli\Arab conflict, the U.S. economy and the world economy and the Pakistan\Afghanistan situation. And all of these are going to be huge matters to matter … manage … and things he really can't win on. So I think we'll have trouble getting his attention and we're going to see … we're going to see the shine come off the … the government fairly quickly on these things. On Canada I think it's going to more depend on how Canada positions itself vis-à-vis this administration. Canada has not really taken a strong stand with the U.S. on … on trade issues, even though there's been a lot of complaining. The question will be — will Canada want to assert itself and try to do something say for instance on one of the most egregious things the U.S. has done and that's softwood lumber. My bet is — no — that Canada is not going to be very aggressive and so I think it likely that we won't put many demands on the Obama administration and I don't fear necessarily they're going to turn around and poke us on us giving all the other problems and situations they have. I think you're going to see Obama try to handle these really tough things he has. He's going to have to try to show some progress on something of his own agenda and so probably try to turn to something on the social policy side, Medicare or something. Canada? We're not going to count very much. Will Canada try to assert and develop a better relationship and get some better results? I'm kind of doubtful. We haven't seen much of a record in standing up and fighting for our position very strongly on these questions.

EDWARD GREENSPON: But John, what should we be going? I mean are there dangers here with the new administration and it won't be on the radar screen is it important to do that — how do you do it?

JOHN MANLEY: Well first of all let me say I am unreasonably optimistic about how President Obama will … will do. I … I think there's a difference between expectations and hopes and I think hopes are very high. I think expectations are actually more realistic than might otherwise be the case given how high the awareness is of how difficult the … and … and intransigent the problems are that he faces. None of which will he be seen as responsible for. At least for a couple of years. So I think he's got a huge opportunity and I think he's shown himself extremely well thus far. So I'm … I'm … I'm really optimistic about it. And let's face it, Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper can do what they want in the budget but what … what the Obama administration does for the economy in the United States is going to have a lot more effect here in Canada I'm afraid than what we do in our own budget on the 27th of January. So we've got a big stake in his success. And even if he never mentions the word 'Canada', if he gets the U.S. economy back on track, that will be good for us in … in many, many ways. In terms of managing the relationship, where … we don't do well when we're you know, you know buzzing around the ear of the United States and … and you know, becoming a … a problem rather than a solution. We do well when we … when we are seen to be relevant in the big issues that the U.S. is engaged in internationally. And then we make progress on the bilateral issues and I think it's going to be very important for the Canadian government to identify the places where we are part of the solution so that we can build capital to spend on some of the bilateral issues, including trade irritants that arise inevitably in a relationship.

JODI WHITE: I agree with that totally in terms of the positive side of it. (Excuse me, sorry). And I really think that one of the things that has to happen is we have to rebuild all of the institutional links. I mean I don't think they have been used in the last while between Ottawa and Washington. I think the possibility of maybe having annual visits with the President somewhere would be so important to us. It's happened in the past, they were … it was an enormously valuable tool for us to have a conversation to do exactly what John's talking about which was to engage on other issues as well and to bring some thoughtful views to the table. But to also be there with our own issues and trying to tackle them. You know, the border being one of the huge ones that we've really got to … to look at very quickly with the new administration. But I think for institution building between the two … for the relationship, is going to be an important part of what we try to do early on.

EDWARD GREENSPON: I want to come back to a couple of points. Let me … let me, particularly John and Jodi for one moment because you've both sat in rooms with … with leaders of countries and foreign ministers of countries talking to each other. When President Obama comes and visits Prime Minister Harper, what will that be like? I mean will they talk politics? Will they talk hockey? Will they just talk about public policy issues that have been laid out by their … by their public servants? What sort of atmosphere occurs in those … in those conversations? John?

JOHN MANLEY: Well, it … usually there is a personal relationship that develops and it's always different with, you know, based on the individuals. And you know certainly I … in my experience seeing Prime Minister Chrétien with Bill Clinton and seeing him with George W. Bush were quite different. And he built a very strong personal relationship with President Clinton to the extent that you know if there were major, you know, summit coming up, Clinton might call Chrétien to get his advice on how to handle a particular situation. There's that kind of … of familiarity and they played golf together and they joked together and they visited privately together and they had that kind of relationship. It was a … it was … it was … I thought for the most part, at least in the bilaterals, very proper between Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Bush but it … it lacked that kind of personal warmth. And some of that is just plain chemistry. So can Stephen Harper get that kind of chemistry with … with Barack Obama? That remains to be seen. There's … there's institutionally a well of goodwill. And we do have our efforts in Afghanistan which will be well noted by the President. But can they … can they click at some kind of a new personal level? That remains to be seen. By the way you know Mr. Mulroney had that … had that knack with the Presidents that he dealt with at least with President Bush Sr. and with President Reagan.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Well Jodi, does the Prime Minister work very hard to develop that knack? I mean do they … do they study having a knack?

JODI WHITE: Well, you certainly hope they do and that is an important part of it to try to find that chemistry and see if it can work and I certainly agree with John. I think that the Afghanistan card is the one that they will play at this side to try to you know, show our importance. And you know it has been mentioned many times. You know, President Obama looks like he's got the charisma card in his hands. And that's fine. And I think Prime Minister Harper will work very hard. And … but in a serious way because he's a very serious guy, of trying to get a conversation going and using as I say, Afghanistan and then trying to build from there on some mutual interests where they know they can agree. So yeah, I think the planning for a meeting like is that you are absolutely trying to build in some chemistry so that you can deal with some of the other things and whether they, you know, use hockey a little bit or anything, you know they'll figure out their way of doing it with both briefings from our Embassy and briefings from people that they know in terms of the connection with President Obama.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Doug — we've heard John Manley confess to irrational exuberance here, vis-à-vis Obama. And indeed there seems to be some kind of you know, crazy euphoria going on here which perhaps you share. But … but I'm going to ask you to play the skeptic here for a minute in any case. The new President no doubt, one of his asks will be about Afghanistan.

DOUG McARTHUR: That's right.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Also, his number one job in this recession no doubt is to protect particularly where he's coming from politically, to protect U.S. jobs which might be harmful. So do we have cause to be worried then?

DOUG McARTHUR: I think we have reasons not to be overly optimistic at least. I think and how those things work out, at least with the Afghanistan situation, he's going to be looking for Canada to signal a change in his position I'm almost certain. And Canada has to be really careful here. I mean if … if and I believe we should not extend the military mission beyond the expiry date — then I think Canada should be very clear about this straight off the bat. And there's always a tendency … politicians are … are like human beings, the new person's around, he's got a high profile, they want him … they're going to want to make him feel good about them. So there's going to be a tendency to be perhaps a bit ambiguous about this and leave it open and then perhaps disappointment down the road. So because we don't follow that expectation so I think that it's going to be … need to be very careful in how we respond and not create the sense of a happy joyous joining arms and going forward, but being very clear. Similarly I think with respect to trade … trade irritants and so on, Obama's going to be pushing back on us on these things and he's going to be eyeing up Canada expecting Canada to, as we've always pretty much done, be willing to give way to the United States on these issues because of the political demands and pressures. And Obama's going to make this case. He's going to say — Look, I've got these industries that are in trouble, they're … politically their representatives are very much opposed to your products coming into Canada whether it be wheat or forestry or whatever. And so I'm … you're going to have to give me room here. I'm not going to be able to help you out. And again, Canada I think the tendency to say — okay, we understand. That's okay. And try to make … keep this happy joined in arms together relationship. I don't think that's the right way to start this. I think … I hope it will be an honest meeting and a tough meeting for Canada is very clear about its interests and its positions.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Okay. Let's go back to the economy for a moment where we spend a lot of time for obvious reasons and we are thirteen days away from a budget so Obama will come in and the Canadian government will follow shortly thereafter with a budget. We see today that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is concerned that deficits are going to last for quite a bit of time. Persist for at least half a decade he's saying. Is that something that worries you guys? John, why don't you start?

JOHN MANLEY: Well it doesn't worry me provided when we begin to see the economy recover that we have a plan to get out of the deficit and you know, having gone through that in '95 it's not … it's not that easy. Also I don't know from the reports that I've seen of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's prediction what he's basing it on. Is it … is it strictly that he's … the expected increase in spending, or more likely has a lot to do with the degree to which revenues will fall?

EDWARD GREENSPON: I think that's right.

JOHN MANLEY: And I think that that … you know I mean that's one of the reasons balancing the budget was so important to get our finances in a condition where when the inevitable downturn did come, the country was not totally in hock and could absorb a few years of deficit spending. It should not be seen as something that, you know, is it against our religion. I think it should be seen as something that's quite pragmatic but that creates an onus in the good years to be putting something away. So, I'm not worried as long as we develop a plan to get out of it in a reasonable period of time when the economy recovers.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Is … Jodi is that … is that a problem for government that we now have this new position, the Parliamentary Budget Officer and there's, you know just a lot of different voices expressing different views?

JODI WHITE: It's a very interesting dynamic in Ottawa right now with that position and it's caused a lot of consternation frankly even by the government that created it. I mean as you know it is really based on the Congressional model in the United States. And I think there's a little bit of a problem in that. And now that they've put this person in place, he is in fact part of the Library of Parliament and so therefore really a research kind of operation. But there is also a certain amount of freedom for him as an agent of Parliament to do some things. And I think, I'm not sure it was foreseen by those who created it, that he was going to be out there. I mean he for one thing depends on a lot of information out of the Department of Finance. But the Department of Finance itself does not put out and so that's where he gets most of his information, and is allowed to. And so there is some confusion frankly. I think, I mean he was really there to provide help to Parliament, to deal with things like estimates and to make sure that they were understanding and asking, you know having somebody to help in terms of developing their economic expertise on investigating various things within the government. Probably a good idea, but there is, it is swirling around a little bit in truth in Ottawa right now as o whether this is a role that was appropriate and as he being out there now speaking independently like this — I'm not too sure what the government intends …. The signals are it's not going to do anything about it. I think originally the Speakers of the two Houses were concerned and were a little confused about the role. So it's an interest … it's just an interesting concept. As I say, it was a Congressional concept brought into a Parliamentary system. I'm not … and perhaps this is an example where in fact not sure if it's working or not. But on the other hand, having a story with that much information about projected deficits which, as I say, the Department of Finance isn't going to put out — is interesting for all of us. And perhaps better for government.

EDWARD GREENSPON: I feel like I have an interest here to declare but the more information that comes out, the better.

JODI WHITE: Yeah well and that was the point to the appointment, but...

DOUG McARTHUR: I mean I think it's unequivocally a good thing. We … we haven't had in Canada an independent body dealing with budgetary matters. And we've had governments increasingly over the past hundred years manipulating the budget reports We've had over … understating of … of surpluses for a period of time. Then we had leading up to this situation, the understating the degree of the expected problem. Governments used to be you could pretty much count on the … on the budget, the financial statements, to be straight up. We haven't been getting that lately so I think this is a good thing. It's independent, it's truly independent, it's not part of any of these Think Tanks that have special interests and so we're getting information that we should. And I think we'll keep the government more honest if you like or more … and stating more clearly what the situation is as they become more familiar with this. I just wanted to make one comment about what's in this report. And one of the alarming things that I saw is that he's predicted and I'm sure he's used very high quality, very sophisticated models … he's predicted … one of the reasons we're going to have this ongoing deficit is we're going to have a gap in utilization of our capacity in the economy. There's going to be a large gap in the level of operation or utilization of economy over quite a period of time. And all of this points to again that we have a problem and I worry about, and I see this in comments that are made and so on. You know, this comment that we shouldn't be too anxious to respond, the problem will probably sort itself out. Doing something about it could create more problems than it can solve. You know demand … This kind of gap in … in the capital utilization calls for effective government policy to … with respect to demand management and again, I think we're being very timid on this and that's going to … to … and I think he's protecting … projecting that. Again, we could do better on a policy sense to address the problems that he's identified.

EDWARD GREENSPON: As we begin to wrap up here let me just take it into one other direction which is, you know, the consequences of, you know, you begin to see the damage from the … from the economy and we see two instances of damage I guess this week. One the bankruptcy of … of Nortel. And the other Doug and I want to start with you because you're closest to it, which is the difficulties Vancouver's having with … with building the village for the Olympics. And I'm wondering — how serious a matter is that both for the Olympics and also for the … for the financial position of the Vancouver and British Columbia governments?

DOUG McARTHUR: Well, I think first of all, this is … this is a result of the first problems we began to see in the economy and that is with respect to credit. And the freezing up of credit. The … the hedge fund that was financing this and undertaken to finance this has not been able to come through with the amount of lending that was required to complete this project. And so now the City is coming … stepping in and taking responsibility and taking responsibility in a very big way. Eight hundred million dollars perhaps in total they're already talking about going out and borrowing four hundred million dollars against a housing project that now most people agree can never recover the costs that were involved in … involved in developing this. So we've got the credit problem coming right back home here into Vancouver where many people thought we were perhaps going to be more recession-proof. The City's taken the responsibility, they've made a number of mistakes. I mean, why they took on the responsibility back in June '07 in the initial responsibility, why they keep wrapping themselves in this problem rather than making a decision to … to force responsibility onto other larger governments who can afford it, is an open question. But it's not a threat to the Olympics. One way or another as Olympics always do, somebody's going to pay for them taking place. I think City taxpayers think they're going to be the ones that are going to be paying for this and they're not very happy about it. And it's going to … already Vancouver's — just yesterday Vancouver's debt rating which was very high, Standard and Poor's has dropped. This is going to be not only a controversy but it's going to put a real squeeze in Vancouver's ability to deliver its services. The story is not going to be good for Vancouver and it's all going to be to pay for an Olympics which was, again, promised to cost us nothing.

EDWARD GREENSPON: John — is this just a tip of an iceberg, emblematic of what we'll see a lot more of in one form or another?

JOHN MANLEY: Well I … you know I think that's right. I think we're … we're still at the early stage of the economic of consequences of the credit and financial problems that started in 2007 and so I think there's a pretty strong consensus around one thing and that's that 2009 is not going to be a great year for … for the global economy. And so lots of these effects will be seen.

EDWARD GREENSPON: And Jodi, let me finish up with you then. Are you a Nortel shareholder?

JODI WHITE: No, I was I suppose but I'm not now.

EDWARD GREENSPON: You can't have lived in Ottawa and not have been a Nortel shareholder.

JODI WHITE: That's right.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Is this … I mean this is I guess a denouement of a long, long declining story. Is this a Canadian tragedy?

JODI WHITE: Yeah actually I would use the term tragedy. I do think it is and you know there was … there's no doubt that there were some greedy people doing illegal things frankly. And I think it's all unfortunate because it was a wonderful company and whether they can restructure now I don't know. But I think a lot of the problems they have to look in the mirror frankly in terms of that company from what I know. And whether or not … also it's interesting in terms of tying it a little bit into securities regulation and compliance and enforcement. And you know, one of the issues with that debate that's going on right now is that our reputation on enforcement is very poor in Canada. And there's a number of examples of that. And you know there's no doubt some of these issues ended up being securities issues for … for Nortel and it's an interesting tie-in in terms of the enforcement of when they knew that things were happening that obviously should not have been happening which were trying to drive up the stock price.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Okay, well next week, Tuesday — swearing-in of the new President of the United States. You're all busy people. Are you going to take time out of your schedules and make sure you watch that?

JODI WHITE: Oh sure, I am.


DOUG McARTHUR: Well, I think I'll get good coverage of it on the evening … evening news and evening reports. I probably won't get a chance during the day.

EDWARD GREENSPON: And on and on next day's Globe and Mail of course you meant to say?

DOUG McARTHUR. Exactly, exactly.

EDWARD GREENSPON: Thank you Doug. Thank you Doug. John? Are you going to the inauguration?

JOHN MANLEY: No I'm … first of all I'm not on anyone's invitation list but secondly this I think is up there with things like Formula One racing and golf tournaments where you can actually see it much better on television than you ever could in person.

EDWARD GREENSPON: And you will be watching it on television?


EDWARD GREENSPON: I mean to me it's sort has the feel of the moon landing. I mean it's just something I feel you know, compelled to watch, so I'm sure many people will. I will see if it breaks Super Bowl and other records for television of viewership. I bet it will. Alright, well I'll see you guys watching it on television as well next week and on the news later. And we'll have a chance to talk about it I hope. So 'till the next time — thank you kindly for all your help this morning.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

USDA Published New Proposed Rule Re: NAIS

On Tuesday, January 13, 2009, the USDA published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would make two elements of NAIS -- NAIS Premises ID and NAIS individual animal ID -- effectively mandatory in several USDA animal disease programs. A copy of the proposed rule is attached.

This rule, if it goes into effect, would be an enormous step toward creating a fully mandatory NAIS for all U.S. livestock.

The proposed rule directly affects cattle, bison, sheep, goats, and swine. However, it will also bring a full NAIS closer for all species. Therefore, all owners of horses, poultry, and other species sh ould also submit comments and urge their livestock/farming organizations to submit comments.

Within a few days, I will be sending out a sample letter for people to consider as a basis for comments. The comment period is scheduled to close on March 16, 2009. Commenting on this proposed rule is extremely important . N ot only all animal owners, but also consumers of local/organic/grassfed foods, and everyone concerned with preserving a place for family farms in a world increasingly dominated by Industrial Agriculture, is urged to comment.

In regard to advancing NAIS, the four most important aspects of the USDA/APHIS Jan. 13, 2009 rule are:

1. As of the effective date of the final rule, the NAIS Premises ID Number (PIN) would be the only form of PIN allowed for certain official uses. (Note on timing -- the comment period is open until March 16, 2009. Then USDA reviews the comments and at some point can issue a final rule. That date of issuance would be the effective date for the mandatory assignments of the NAIS Premises IDs. However, a large number of unfavorable comments might result in the postponement, or even retraction or cancellation, of the rule.)

2. Although the system announced in this proposed rule supposedly permits the continued use of the National Uniform Eartagging System (traditionally, metal tags) and a "premises-based numbering system," in fact, these systems would be used in the same way as NAIS Animal Identification Numbers. The older forms of eartags and individual IDs would all be connected into the NAIS Premises ID database through the Animal Identification Number Management System ("AINMS," the USDA system that keeps track of what individual animal identification number is assigned to what farm or ranch). In other words, under the system of this proposed rule, anytime a farmer/rancher has metal tags applied to livestock (such as for TB or brucellosis testing ) , the farm/ranch will be placed into the NAIS Premises ID system and the numbers on the tags will be tied to the farm/ranch through the USDA's AINMS system.

3. Some requirements are being added for official ear tags and these new requirements might make it very difficult or even impossible to obtain metal tags instead of the NAIS tags. The additional requirements include a "U.S. shield" printed on each tag , and tags must be "tamper-resistant and have a high retention rate in the animal." The APHIS Administrator must approve all tags. The NAIS tags now available already meet these standards. It is not clear that metal tags have ever been judged by th e se standards, so it is possible that the APHIS A dministrator could fail to approve metal and other non-NAIS tags. Also, tag manufacturers will have a clear self-interest in abandoning production of cheap metal tags in favor of expensive NAIS RFID tags, so non-NAIS forms of tags may quickly become extinct.

4. The addition of a definition of the AINMS to the animal-disease program rules in the Code of Federal Regulations is huge. Previously the AINMS has only been defined in the non-rule NAIS informational documents (Draft Strategic Plan, User Guide, Business Plan, etc.) so it did not have any defined legal status. Now this proposed rule adds a definition of the AINMS and also provides that eventually the AINMS will be used to tie all types of "official" tags -- not just the NAIS 15-digit tags -- to a NAIS registered premises. Th e proposed rule accomplishes essentially a mandatory system for the first 2 elements of NAIS -- NAIS premises ID and NAIS individual animal ID. The only difference from the original NAIS plan is that now the metal tags and other traditional forms of individual ID have become additional forms of numbering/tagging that are used as part of NAIS.

Note that even if your state has passed a law to keep NAIS "voluntary," that will not necessarily save you from this rule. The Federal Register notice specifically states: "All State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted." (p. 1638.) However, if you are working to pass a state law limiting NAIS in the present legislative session, keep working -- such a law could still be very important. It shows the opposition of animal owners and consumers to NAIS , which may help get the rule postponed or rescinded. In addition, the question of whether this rule would pre-empt contrary state laws in all circumstances may someday be open to legal challenge.

But for now, your best defense against NAIS is to make sure you comment on the proposed rule. Watch for my sample letter to be distributed in the next few days.

Mary Zanoni
P.O. Box 501
Canton, New York 13617

First They Came for the Cows - An Activist's Story
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Groups pursue suit over Wyo.'s elk-feeding program, Claim Contributes to Spread of Mad Cow Disease

By JUDITH KOHLER Associated Press Writer
Wyoming's longtime policy of feeding elk in winter on public lands is contributing to the spread of disease, and the federal government should take a hard look at the practice, conservation groups argued Thursday.

U.S. agencies have allowed the state to feed elk for decades on public land in western Wyoming with little public input or analysis of the consequences, an attorney for the groups said in a 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing.

The two-judge panel is considering an appeal by the groups of a federal court decision in Wyoming. It's unclear when it will rule.

The state feed grounds, in operation since the early 20th century, are supported by ranchers because they keep elk away from their cattle's hay. Hunters support the practice because they worry about elk dying in harsh winters.

But conservation groups claim the incidence of brucellosis, which can cause wildlife and livestock to abort their fetuses, is greater among elk using the feed grounds because the disease spreads as the animals congregate.

Their lawsuit also claims feed grounds make elk vulnerable to chronic wasting disease, a brain-killing ailment once found in deer and elk only in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming.

The illness, in the same family as mad cow disease, turned up last year in a moose about 13 miles from a state elk feeding ground, said Tim Preso, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the groups.

The lawsuit by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and Wyoming Outdoor Council seeks to force the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to prepare environmental reviews of 12 feed grounds.

Federal officials note there is a 1981 agreement with Wyoming dealing with the feed grounds and that permits were issued for some of the sites years ago. Preso countered that a review is needed because of the increase in brucellosis and chronic wasting disease.

"Their position is we could have elk dropping by the hundreds," Preso said, "and their obligation ended in 1981."

Referring to concerns about disease spreading to livestock, Judge Mary Beck Briscoe asked government lawyers: "Are you turning a blind eye to this problem or are you trying to do something to resolve it?"

Robert Oakley, a Department of Justice attorney, said shutting down the feed grounds and possibly increasing the chances of infected elk mingling with cattle might not be the answer. He said environmental reviews were recently done of six feed grounds.

The conservation groups' argument should be with the state of Wyoming, which is responsible for the wildlife and state regulations, said Levi Martin, Wyoming senior assistant attorney general.

"The fact of the matter is that this is a more attractive venue for them. That's why we're here," said Martin, referring to the appeals court appearance in Denver.

After the hearing, Preso said his clients haven't succeeded in working with state officials. He said the federal agencies conducted environmental assessments of some of the feed grounds only after a lawsuit was filed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kansas Officially Selected for $450M "Bio-Agro" Defense Lab Facility

Kansas officially selected for biothreat lab



Kansas State University
Record of decision
Department of Homeland Security

TOPEKA, Kan. - It's official: The Department of Homeland Security picked a site Friday in Kansas for a $450 million laboratory to study livestock diseases.

The agency's Directorate for Science and Technology made its decision official Friday by publishing it in the federal record. The document affirmed a decision announced in December to build the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at the Manhattan, Kan., campus to replace an aging lab at Plum Island, N.Y.

Sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas were the other finalists.

Scientists will be researching and developing new vaccines for deadly foreign animal and other biological threats, including foot-and-mouth disease.

Construction is expected to begin in 2010, and the project's costs could increase from the $450 million initially estimated by the Department of Homeland Security. The bulk of the cost will be covered by federal funds, and the facility is expected to open by 2015.

Homeland Security Undersecretary Jay Cohen said in a written statement Friday that completion of the three-year selection process was important to maintaining a safe and secure food supply for the nation.

"The selected site was be to best meet the immediate need of the research and work force requirements of the NBAF mission," Cohen wrote, adding that Kansas was "the best overall proposal."

News of the document finalizing the decision was first announced Monday by members of Kansas' congressional delegation. A copy of the decision, dated and signed by Cohen, was obtained by The Associated Press, although Department of Homeland Security officials declined to comment until Friday.

Officials in Texas are considering a legal challenge to the decision, saying that the process was flawed.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius spoke Monday with Cohen about the decision.

"I'm thrilled it's now official, and we look forward to putting our research expertise and infrastructure to good use as the nation's partner in protecting the food supply and agriculture economy," the governor said Friday.

A federal steering committee gave unanimous approval in December to selecting the Kansas site. That decision was based on, among other criteria, the availability of researchers to support the lab's mission and the Kansas package of incentives.

The laboratory is to be built on 59 acres at Kansas State near the Biosecurity Research Institute, where similar activities are conducted on plant and animal diseases.

The lab is expected to generate about 1,500 construction jobs and a payroll of $25 million to $30 million for more than 500 employees, including 300 researchers.

The Plum Island site, located on Long Island, has operated for more than 50 years and has been the only lab capable of researching foot-and-mouth disease.

Kansas State is on the western edge of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, stretching to Columbia, Mo., and including the University of Missouri, University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

More than 120 animal health firms have a presence in the corridor, employing about 13,000 workers.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

24 yr old man with human form of mad cow disease confounds doctors

Monday, 29 December 2008

The world’s longest known survivor of the human form of mad cow disease has once again confounded medical experts.

Belfast man Jonathan Simms — who was diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) seven years ago — spend the Christmas period in the Royal Victoria Hospital’s intensive care unit.

At one stage, the 24-year-old man’s condition was described as “critical” as he battled a serious chest infection

However, his condition is now thought to be “non life-threatening”.

When the talented footballer was diagnosed with vCJD seven years ago when he was aged 17, medics gave him just months to live.

However, he defied all odds and with the love and support of his family and particularly his parents Karen and Don, Jonathan has amazed the medical profession by not only surviving but displaying small but significant signs of improvement.

A neighbour of the Simms family told our sister paper The Sunday Life: “People were concerned when they learned Jonathan was in hospital but apparently he is making progress.

“We understand he picked up a chest infection which has nothing to do with CJV.

“We’ve heard he has improved and his condition is not life-threatening.”

When contacted about his son’s condition, Don Simms would not revealed why Jonathan had spent Christmas in hospital and said: “I have no comment to make at this time.”

The Simms family were forced to embark on a lengthy court battle to allow Jonathan access to a controversial new drug.

During an internet search, Don discovered the existence of Pentosan Polysulphate — a blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory therapy which had only previously been tested on animals.

After taking his fight to the High Court in London, Don won the right for his son to be given the controversial treatment via an infusion into his brain. The treatment proved successful and three years ago, a young man who was previously given months to live by the medical profession was no longer classed as terminally ill.

He is now the world’s longest survivor of CJD and is currently recovering in hospital from a chest infection that at one stage looked like it might claim his life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Koreans Executed Over Opposition to US Beef Imports

A Beef Guy Stands Up for Freedom of Speech

Mad Cow Bullshit
at:2008-12-30 12:49:28 Click: 35
To date, I have refrained from commenting on the Mad cow Bullshit that consumed the country for months. But I read this article in the Chosun Ilbo and had to express my thoughts. Here's the money quote:Kim Tae-yeol, the president of KOMIA said, “It seems there was a huge potential demand for U.S. beef, although the social atmosphere did not allow it to surface.This is pretty much what I was thinking all along, and is what I kept telling my father who is a US beef producer. The social atmosphere didn't allow the demand to surface. People were too afraid to say that their true opinions on the matter. It is no wonder people were afraid to speak up when doing so could cause beatings or even boycotts of your business. For months and months, the entire country was snared in the anti-US Beef tomfoolery (I can't believe I just used that word).Now, it seems the tables are turning. As per the Korea Times, MBC--and 'PD Notebook' in particular--is being sued:Thousands of citizens filed a collective lawsuit against MBC's investigative program ``PD Notebook,'' demanding 2.47 billion won ($2.4 million) in compensation for mental and commercial damage caused by what they called false and exaggerated reports on mad cow disease.A group of lawyers associated with an Internet community ``Nonodemo,'' which opposes anti-U.S. beef protests, filed the suit with the Seoul Southern District Court on Thursday on behalf of 2,469 citizens.``The TV program in question was derelict in its duty to deliver fair and unbiased information, pushing the whole country into chaos as a consequence. It inflicted huge mental and physical damage on society,'' the community said in a statement. That's not all. The people who called for the boycott of prominent newspapers have been detained by the prosecution. Korea Beat translates an article --that has yet to appear in any English outlets (Update: Korean Times had a nice article about 24 who were indicted and fined). One has to wonder about what democracy means in the 21 century South Korea. I understand that people--and by extension, companies--have a right to their reputation. I think that in theory, it is a noble law, but at what expense? It means that people are free to be crooks and liars because you cannot call them on their behavior without being subject to a libel suit. There is no restaurant section in any newspaper which gives reviews. They may tell of a new GOOD restaraunt, but never a bad one. If they write of a bad experience they can be sued. If I want to call for a boycott on a company for selling dumplings filled with rotten kimchi, I can land in hot water. Agree with the Mad Bullshit protesters or not, if they want to boycott a company, what business is it of the government to step in and fine them, restrict them from travel, and even put them in jail?Some of the activists and instigators of the Spring of Mad Cow Protests have been seeking refuge in the temples of Korea. Hiding out. However three of them have been stabbed by a PRO-US Beef supporter.The assailant, identified only by his family name Park, argued that U.S. beef is safe for consumption before assaulting the men just outside the Jogye Temple, headquarters of the country's largest Buddhist sect.The victims are members of the Anti-Lee Myung-bak Cafe, an online community supporting organizers of the anti-U.S. beef protests who have been taking refuge since July in the Buddhist temple to evade arrest.My question is this: if they were taken to the hospital, and no longer in the sanctuary of the temples, were they arrested? I mean, these guys were in all the newspapers, so they are no longer hidden, right? If they've been hiding out from the police for all these months, and now I'm reading about them in the English newspapers, wouldn't it seem logical that they'd be taken in for questioning.Instead, the police have been busy with something else.

Playing Death Games with Our Childrens Brains

Deciding for children is not a game to be played by those (the meat and dairy industries, our government and schools) with selfish money hungry desires.

Lets not forget the 143 million pounds of "beef" recalled for fears of Mad Cow. Most of that "beef" was eaten by unsuspecting children in schools before the recall was announced. CJD (the human variant of Mad Cow) takes years to incubate in young children's brains. Are you willing to play games of chance with children's lives?

Children deserve to know they can live an extra 10-15 years on a vegan diet. Hiding lifesaving information from children is criminal.

I heard those in control claim they know better than children and have decided for them with no regard for their health.

Schools have chosen to feed children meat and dairy so they can make money from the lunch program and the children. Their choice has nothing to do with good health. Their choice has everything to do with making money--our tax-payer money.

All meat and dairy products should be eliminated from the school lunch completely. No child should be exposed to the diseases which are commonly prevented, consistently improved, and sometimes cured by a vegan diet including but not limited too: Strokes, Heart disease, Osteoporosis, Kidney Stones, Colon cancer, Prostate cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Ovarian cancer, Cervical cancer, Stomach cancer, Endometrial cancer, Breast cancer, Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, Kidney disease, Peptic ulcers, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Hiatal hernias, Diverticulosis, Obesity, Gallstones, Hypertension, Asthma, Salmonellosis, Trichinosis, Irritable colon syndrome, and CJD (human variant of Mad Cow).

Today is the last day to Vote for Obama to address the issue of Vegan School lunches. Voting only takes a second. Please visit:

"Bad men are just immature selfish little boys who have acquired the power to prevent reason from taking away their toys"


Korean 'PD Diary' Case Must Not End Here

Lim Soo-bin, the senior prosecutor of the Seoul Central Prosecutors¡¯ Office who has been investigating staff at MBCs PD Diary program for exaggerating the dangers of U.S. beef, is apparently minded to resign. Lim is said to find himself in conflict with top officials at the prosecutors¡¯ office over indicting the producers of the show.

When he announced the interim findings of his investigation on July 29, Lim said most of the ¡°PD Diary¡± reports on mad cow disease distorted the truth, including exaggerating the dangers of the bovine disease in 19 different instances, and demanded that the program¡¯s producers show up for questioning. Since then, prosecutors have not investigated the producers further and have yet to seize master tapes that contain 5,000 minutes of footage. It is difficult to understand what changes in circumstances have led the lead prosecutor to think differently now.

It is possible to grasp the difficulties faced by the prosecution. The investigation began on June 20 with the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries requesting a probe, saying the reports had damaged the ministry¡¯s image, while slandering the images of the agriculture minister and Korea¡¯s representative in beef talks with the United States. But it is true that the majority of the Korean public felt the beef accord reached between Seoul and Washington, which began on Apr. 10 -- the day after Korea¡¯s general elections -- and concluded on April 18, amounted to kowtowing to the U.S. government. Moreover, the beef talks themselves were faulty, with the Korean government failing even to question specific details, including strengthened measures banning cattle feed containing animal components. It is understandable that the lead prosecutor was surprised that the very people who signed that hasty agreement claimed their images had been tarnished.

But whether the government¡¯s image has been tarnished is a different question from whether ¡°PD Diary¡± distorted and exaggerated the facts. ¡°PD Diary¡± showed footage of a cow staggering on its way to slaughter, which was filmed to protest the abuse of animals. The cow in the footage had nothing to do with mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), yet ¡°PD Diary¡± led viewers toward making incorrect judgments by saying the footage they were watching of a BSE-stricken cow on its way to slaughter was ¡°shocking.¡±

And in the case of an American woman who died of Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD) that had nothing to do with beef consumption, ¡°PD Diary¡± subtitles quoted the woman¡¯s mother as saying her daughter died from variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD), the fatal human form of BSE and quite another illness. Because of these distortions, Korea became the only one out of 100 countries around the world where people held mass protests voicing their fears of mad cow disease in the streets. The social chaos brought about by that misinformation is well remembered.

Prosecutors would not have been able to say the case was full of holes if the plaintiffs had been those who suffered directly from the ¡°PD Diary¡± report, such as U.S. cattle ranchers, Koreans living in the U.S., beef importers in Korea and the businesses in Gwanghwamun, where the protests brought traffic to a halt for months. The distortion and exaggeration committed by ¡°PD Diary¡± must be investigated, and the people responsible for those acts held responsible, either through criminal or civil suits.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mexico Bans U.S. Beef Imports

By Bob Burgdorfer

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mexico suspended purchases from 30 U.S. meat plants due to sanitary issues, which sent U.S. cattle and hog prices sharply lower on Friday and prompted speculation the ban was retaliation against a U.S. labeling law.

Early on Friday, U.S. analysts said the bans were likely because of Mexico's opposition to a recently enacted meat labeling law. The law, commonly called Country-of-Origin Labeling or COOL, requires that meat packages in U.S. supermarkets carry labels stating the countries where the meat animals were raised.

Mexico and the U.S. Agriculture Department both denied the retaliation charge.

"Countries would go through dispute settlement under either (the North American Free Trade Agreement) or (World Trade Organization) -- not use the action of plant-by-plant delistment," said Amanda Eamich of USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

USDA listed the affected plants on its website on Friday, but the suspensions became effective on Tuesday. The listed plants produce beef, lamb, pork, and poultry and can be found here

Many of the banned plants are owned by the largest U.S. meat companies, including Cargill Inc, Tyson Foods Inc, JBS, Seaboard and Smithfield Foods.

Mexico is a leading buyer of U.S. meat and said that purchases from the affected plants could resume as early as Monday.

"If everything goes well, the plants could be re-listed next Monday," Mexico's agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the affected plants fell short on standards like packaging, labeling, and some transport conditions.

USDA said it is working with Mexico and the meat companies to resolve the issues.


U.S. consumer and farm groups say the labeling rules will distinguish U.S.-grown food from imports on the grocery shelf and fulfill the shopper's right to know about products.

Canadian and Mexican officials have opposed the law arguing that it will have U.S. meat plants and consumers discriminating against non-U.S. animals and meat. Both countries ship livestock into the United States.

"It appears they (Mexican officials) are using this to send a signal to our government that they don't like COOL," Don Roose, analyst at U.S. Commodities, said earlier on Friday.

Earlier this year, Mexico had warned many U.S. meat plants of alleged "point of entry violations" and Friday's suspensions may have been related to that, Jim Herlihy, spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, said early on Friday.

Point of entry violations could be a number of things including incorrect paperwork or labeling issues, he said.


Prior to Mexico saying shipments could resume on Monday, Roose had predicted the bans would be short, because Mexico needs the meat for its population.

"You have to feed the masses," he said.

News of the bans prompted selling in U.S. cattle and hog markets at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, with cattle prices dropping 2 to 2.5 percent and hog prices dropping about 3 percent.

"That is bad news," Jim Clarkson, Chicago-based analyst at A&A Trading said of Mexico's action. "They (Mexico) are fighting COOL."

After Mexico denied it was retaliating for COOL, Clarkson still predicted the labeling law may have helped prompt the bans.

Due to the holiday period, attempts on Friday were unsuccessful to reach many of the U.S. meat companies.

(Additional reporting by Jason Lange and Adriana Barrera in Mexico City; Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Group Wins Major Animal ID Dispute; USDA Cancels Mandatory Premises Registration Directive

Group Wins Major Animal ID Dispute; USDA Cancels Mandatory Premises Registration Directive

by R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America (Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole) Page 1 of 2 page(s)

For those aware of the threat the NAIS poses, this is a significant victory for the freedom to farm. The fight is not over, however, until states such as Michigan and Wisconsin rescind their mandatory NAIS regulations. In Wisconsin, the state agriculture department has filed suit against Emmanuel Miller, an Amish farmer, for refusing to register his premises - just the issue that R-CALF has fought with the USDA and won. Let us wish Mr. Miller well in his trial and that he retain full freedom to farm - something his family came to this country for, many generations ago.

“Fighting for the U.S. Cattle Producer”

For Immediate Release
Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator

December 29, 2008

Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail:

Billings, Mont. – Just over a month after R-CALF USA sent a formal letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary Services (APHIS-VS) demanding that the agency retract Memorandum No. 575.19 issued on Sept. 22, 2008, APHIS-VS officially canceled that particular memo on Dec. 22, 2008.

Memorandum 575.19 mandated premises registration under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for producers engaged in interstate commerce and who participate in any one of the dozen or more federally regulated disease programs.

R-CALF USA told the agency in its Nov. 10, 2008, letter that the memo “constitutes an unlawful, final regulatory action initiated and implemented without public notice or opportunity for comment, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act,” and must be retracted.

“We caught USDA in the unlawful act of trying to convert what was promised to be a completely voluntary animal identification system into a mandatory NAIS, and the agency backed down,” said R-CALF USA President/Region VI Director Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian who also chairs the group’s animal health committee. “This goes to show how an organized group of cattle producers can effectively defend their rights if they stand and fight together.”

The cancellation memorandum issued by APHIS-VS on Dec. 22, 2008, states, “VS Memorandum No. 575.19 dated September 22, 2008, is hereby canceled.”

“This action by USDA confirms what we’ve been saying all along – that USDA does not have the authority to implement NAIS and it is using underhanded and unlawful methods to coerce independent cattle producers into giving up their rights to their property,” said Kenny Fox, who chairs the group’s animal identification committee.

“R-CALF USA encourages producers to not register their premises under the NAIS and to immediately request that their names and property be removed from the NAIS database if they had previously registered under USDA’s coercive actions,” Fox urged.

The new APHIS-VS memo further states that APHIS-VS “has an established procedure for producers who request their premises record be removed from the NAIS premises databases.”

R-CALF USA advocates that USDA should use and improve existing disease traceback methods including state-sanctioned brand programs that do not require individual producers to register their property under a national premises registration program in order to improve USDA’s disease traceback capabilities.

“There is no need to violate producers’ private property rights to accomplish this objective, and R-CALF will continue to work with Congress and USDA to improve our existing systems, but we will not tolerate the type of government intrusion on our industry that USDA envisioned with NAIS,” Fox concluded.

Note: To view/download R-CALF USA’s letter or the new APHIS-VS memorandum, please visit the “Animal Identification” link at or contact R-CALF USA Communications Coordinator Shae Dodson to request copies. # # #

Korean Prosecutor Forced to Resign for Refusal to Prosecute Media in Mad Cow Case

Lim Su-bin, a Korean Prosecuter, refuses to prosecute media for truth telling in mad cow case; resigns a hero to the cause of free press, Korean people.

Click on title above for article;

More Prion Study; They Dont Cook Out

Couple tackles cause of Creutzfeldt-Jakob

Mon, December 29, 2008

Marco and Vania Prado are researching a class of always fatal brain diseases in hopes of coming up with treatments and cures

By JOHN MINER / London Free Press

Molecular neuroscientists Marco and Vania Prado hope by studying the good they can understand the bad.

Recruited this fall to Robarts Research Institute from a Brazilian university along with their seven-member research team, the couple is tackling an untreatable and always fatal class of brain diseases -- prion disease.

"What we know is there is a protein that every one of us has called the prion protein, but we don't really know what the function is. It changes, it goes bad," said Marco, who has received nearly $450,000 over two years from PrioNet Canada, a network of researchers, for his research in London.

Vania's expertise is in developing lines of mice for research that display degenerative diseases.

When the prion protein goes bad in humans, it causes the degenerative Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

It is believed prion disease has been present in sheep as scrapie for hundreds of years, but didn't become a major health threat until it somehow made the leap to cattle and sparked the mad cow epidemic in Britain.

The discovery of an infected cow in Alberta in May 2003 shut down Canada's livestock export industry, costing farmers billions of dollars and crippling the beef industry.

Not a bacteria or virus, prions have turned out to be a particularly difficult infectious agent to kill, defying normal sterilization procedures for surgical instruments. Cooking won't kill prions in food.

When a surgery patient in London initially tested positive for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in 2006, London Health Sciences Centre was forced to shut down all its operating rooms for several days in order to prevent the disease from being spread.

"It is one of the worst things to kill. It can survive bound to metals in the environment for many, many years," Marco said. "The prion protein has a form, a conformation. When that conformation changes, it causes disease.

"It may take a long time. It may take 20 to 40 years for the disease to show up, but you get the disease if that conformation is changed."

With only about one in one million people developing the disease, it was once considered a pretty obscure area for research, he said.

Fortunately, some scientists were intrigued enough to study prions so there was enough understanding for health authorities to halt the outbreak in Britain, Marco said.

The London research team plans to study "good prions" to gain an understanding of what prions actually do in the brain.

"First you have to understand how it works well to understand what goes bad in the disease," Marco said.

London Free Press;

Austrailian Beef Industry Bright

The Weekly Times / Gemma Gadd

December 30, 2008

FIVE years of bad news about mad cow disease has sapped consumer confidence, according to Teys Brothers corporate affairs general manager Tom Maguire.

Mr Maguire said that while the International Veterinary Committee had all but stamped out the disease through improved biosecurity practices, mad cow disease, or BSE, was still very much on the radar for Australian beef processors and exporters.

"(Mad cow disease) is still an issue for processors in that we, and the broader industry,- must remain vigilant in our surveillance and in maintaining our programs that allow us to prove we are disease free," he said.

This is in contrast to the US industry, which is yet to regain full market access and had not established such programs, he said.

Mr Maguire said the knock-on effects of mad cow disease was still evident in beef consumption - beef sales in Korea and Japan remain below pre-BSE levels - and in processing practices.

"We can see this in terms of the controls our customers and the markets we serve insist we have in our meat plants, such as removing spinal cord and other specified risk material," Mr Maguire said.

Teys Brothers would continue to adhere to these standards to guarantee their product amid a worldwide crisis in confidence, he said.

"The disease was terrible but, in many ways, the real impact was in confidence and trust," Mr Maguire said.

"How this affected Canada and the US is an important lesson for Australia."

But Mr Maguire predicted a brighter outlook for beef.

He said some of the product sold to Japan and Korea to meet increased demand in the months and years post December 2003 had since moved back to more traditional markets.

This was partly due to a high Australian dollar.

The Weekly Times;