Song in my head: We've got to get ourselves back to the garden.......................Joni Mitchell
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Mad cow disease a serious fear April 3, 2004
Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association, http://www.organiccomsumers.com, writes in this op-ed that polls indicate that at least 30 million health-conscious Americans no longer believe that conventionally produced beef is safe.
Scientific experts warn that not only is mad cow disease present in the United States and Canada, but that continuing industry practices of feeding slaughterhouse waste, blood and manure to livestock are undoubtedly spreading the disease.
Cummins says that other studies indicate that animal blood and the blood from infected humans can transmit the disease. Although public pressure has forced the FDA to call for a ban on the feeding of blood to calves and chicken manure to cows, billions of pounds of cattle byproducts and blood are still routinely fed to chickens, pigs and other animals and then subsequently fed to cattle.
Brain parts and nervous-system tissues of cows younger than 30 months are still being served up in restaurants and put into a variety of consumer products, including cosmetics and nutritional supplements.
Compounding public concern, the U.S. Department of Agriculture still stubbornly refuses to follow the example of countries like Japan and test all cattle for mad cow disease at slaughter, before they enter the food chain.
As a result most countries in the world will no longer buy U.S. beef. Because of these concerns more and more Americans are either cutting back on their beef consumption or else starting to buy organic beef and meat for themselves and their families.
Cummins says there are at least three major reasons for beefeaters to switch to organic.
There is an absolute ban on the feeding of animal byproducts to organic mammals and poultry. On nonorganic farms it is still perfectly legal to feed cows slaughterhouse-waste from poultry, horses and pigs, as well as gelatin (rendered from the hooves of cattle and other species), fats, oils, grease and tallow from cattle and other species.
There is rigorous lifelong tracking and monitoring of all animals on all organic farms. No drugs, antibiotics or nonorganic feed can be fed to these animals. An inspector representing a USDA-accredited certification agency reviews organic-farm records on every animal at least annually. Meat-packing plants where certified organic animals are slaughtered and feed mills where organic animal feeds are produced are also closely monitored.
No cow raised its entire life on an organic farm has ever tested positive for mad cow disease.
There have been several cases in Europe where cattle on organic farms were diagnosed with the disease; however, upon further investigation, it was found that the cattle had not been born on the organic farms. They had been bought from nonorganic farms and converted to organic production.