The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 December 2003

An industry at steak

Maybe it's just me, but I tend to think that a lot of the whimpering about the discovery of one whole case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka "mad-cow disease") in the entire US comes from one panicked subset of the population: the people who think we shouldn't be eating anything more complicated than walnuts in the first place.

Meanwhile, here in the Land of the Thousand-Dollar Grill, while there's some reasonable amount of uncertainty at the production end of the business, actual sales are steady so far. I don't eat quite as much of the stuff as I used to — in truth, I don't eat quite as much of anything as I used to — but it's going to take a lot more than one case of BSE to get me to give up on it.

Posted at 10:02 AM to Dyssynergy


I think the people most concerned seem to be the people that didn't think we were looking very hard to begin with... hence, finding something is significant insomuch as it indicates a much larger problem waiting to be discovered.

Another concern is that has done less than other nations to prepare for an eventual outbreak, so now that we may be seeing a start to something, it might get worse quickly.

Either way.. the larger issue remains, are we courting danger to keep down prices and speed up production?

Posted by: bruce at 2:29 PM on 27 December 2003

Prices are going to fall anyway: the export market is essentially dead right now, so anything in the pipeline is going to be marked down to be moved in a hurry. The cattlemen interviewed on the tube seem to be anxious to cut back production until this blows over, and under the circumstances, I can't blame them.

I don't think we're necessarily courting danger, but we should be every bit as adamant about quarantine of our own infection as we were about imports, and thus far, I think we're falling slightly short of that goal.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:10 PM on 27 December 2003

I think the cow was infected by ELF terrorists. Of course, they were supported by PETA.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip at 6:37 PM on 27 December 2003

I dunno, but I think it's safe to say they're not above pulling a stunt like that.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:14 PM on 27 December 2003

The courting of danger is in the practice of feeding beef by-products to cattle. From what I read when the first mad-cow panic hit Britain, they determined that either a possible cause or a possible post hoc, ergo propter hoc to mad-cow was mixing beef bone meal into the feed grain.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:58 AM on 28 December 2003

Which is a bit unnerving in its own right, like filling the hogs' trough with Bac-Os.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:53 AM on 28 December 2003

McGehee is correct. And in the case of the cow in WA (from what I've heard), they noticed it was sick and removed the spine and the brain to make sure it was not processed. Hopefully, that will contain the disease.

Posted by: Goof Beyou at 3:55 PM on 28 December 2003

Just who thought this practice, feeding cow to cow, was a good idea?

Posted by: bruce at 5:21 PM on 28 December 2003

Certainly not I. I assume they figured it was a cheap source of protein, and, well, cattle aren't prone to complain.

The old slogan "You Are What You Eat" seems suddenly worrisome.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:50 PM on 28 December 2003

Or... "You eat what you are"

I also read in today's Daily OK that the lower intestine was removed prior to slaughter for added prevention. I guess the upper intestine is alright and employees know precisely where to divide it.

Also, the organs are supposedly safe. Watch for more menus with liver and "nuggets" offered.

Posted by: Mike at 8:25 PM on 29 December 2003