Wednesday, December 31

Angry Bovines

I spotted an article on the Consumer Reports web site, regarding TSEs (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies) .. there's some good information about mutant proteins and prions in their article : Mad cow update: How to limit your risk.

I read yesterday that the government is considering mandating RFID tags (along with retina matching) for cattle, instead of those easy-to-change ear tags. The Canadian program is called NLID (National Livestock Identification for Dairy). I think that's a really good idea; there's far too much risk that an errant rancher will try to bypass the law when one of their cows turns sick (so-called "downer cows") and they risk the loss of income. Something should be done so that the ranchers don't lose their investment if they have to dispose of an animal, rather than butcher and sell it.

Jill-Bob elaborated: "sometimes downer cows are as such because they have a broken leg or other affliction completely unrelated to Mad Cow or some other illness. Heck, maybe it just has a cold and doesn't feel like getting up and walking. "

I suspect we haven't heard the end of Mad Cow quite yet. For example, there's an article in a Singapore paper about the health risks of all US beef, given common (lax) slaughter practices: Muscle cuts are mad-cow safe? Bull!

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