Animal Owners Have Rights, Too
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
In Tuesday's editorial "A beef with USDA," THE WASHINGTON TIMES raises a good question: Why doesn't the U.S. Department of Agriculture allow beef producer and supplier Creekstone to conduct 100 percent testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) for marketing purposes? The answer is simple. There isn't a food safety test for BSE, and testing cannot guarantee an animal is BSE-free.
USDA bases testing decisions on sound science and the need to protect human and animal health. Scientific evidence tells us that the average incubation time for BSE is five years, and the disease and seven positive adult animals out of the entire U.S. cattle population. We can say, based on science, that the prevalence of BSE in the United States is extraordinarily low. The testing and analysis reinforce our confidence in the health of the U.S. cattle herd, while our interlocking safeguards, including the removal of specified risk materials and the feed ban, protect animal and human health.
Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service
The Department of Agriculture is trying to implement a nationwide program to require all animal owners to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), or to "chip" their animals and report daily any movement that involves contact with an animal from a different premises. This program supposedly is in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, a brain-destroying illness. …