WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep
meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered
cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But
Arkansas City-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its
Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its
meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive
A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling
was to take effect Friday, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it
would appeal -- effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge
Mad cow disease is linked to more than 150 human deaths worldwide, mostly in
There have been three cases of mad cow disease identified in cattle in the
U.S. The first, in December 2003 in Washington state, was in a cow that had
been imported from Canada. The second, in 2005, was in a Texas-born cow. The
third was confirmed last year in an Alabama cow.
The Agriculture Department argued that widespread testing could lead to a
false positive that would harm the meat industry. U.S. District Judge James
Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government
relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it.
Oh, all right. One small comment. First, observe the contempt for liberty. When E. coli conservatives say self-regulation is preferable to government, they're even lying about that. Second, observe the contempt for small business. When a small company wants to - voluntarily! - hold its product to a higher standard, the government blocks it, in part because bigger companies have to be protected from the competition, in part because a theoretical threat to the bottom line (false positives) trumps protection against a deadly disease.
There's your conservatism, America: not extremism in defense of liberty. State socialism in defense of Mad Cow.