Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Same Old Beef With Bushco

This tells us that Hallmark/ Westland Meat Packing Company of California recently recalled all of its beef produced since February 1, 2006, amounting to 143 million pounds, because of a video filmed by the Humane Society of the U.S. that showed…

…(plant) workers (using) several abusive techniques to make animals stand up and pass a pre-slaughter inspection. These included ramming cattle with forklift blades and using a hose to simulate the feeling of drowning.
Great, so now we’re “waterboarding” cows, huh? As noted here by Kerry Trueman of HuffPo, however, the Hallmark workers used other tactics to get the so-called “downer” cows (those too sick to move on their own) to the slaughterhouse, and since I’m eating my lunch at the moment, I’ll let you read about them in Trueman’s post instead of mentioning them myself.

And are you ready for the “good” news in all of this?

Most of the meat, raw and frozen beef products, probably has already been consumed, said USDA officials at a briefing. Some 37 million lbs were bought for school lunches and other federal nutrition programs. USDA said there was only a minor risk of illness from eating the beef.
I’d feel better about that guess if it weren’t for the fact that, as noted by Lou Dubose and the eternal Molly Ivins in “Bushwhacked” here…

…(the authors) charge that the Republican Party “is the party of unregulated meat and poultry.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) undersecretary for food safety, former Texas A&M professor, Elsa Murano, does not believe in testing food products (Murano stepped down in 2004). She also helped to kill off the Clinton administration regulations that dealt with the deadly bacterial form of food poisoning, listeria. The authors accuse the Republicans of paying off their wealthy contributors from the cattle- and chicken-processing states with the lax enforcement of USDA regulations.
Among the many diseases that could be transmitted through tainted meat, “Mad Cow” would have to rank as the worst (as noted here). And though brain and spinal cord tissue from cows is not used to feed cattle, sheep and goats…

…the government now allows meal containing brain and spinal tissue from cattle to be fed to chickens. One concern is that the government allows mixing chicken waste into cattle feed, another possible route for spreading mad cow disease that critics say should not be dismissed.
And this links to a press release from Sen. Dick Durbin’s site in which Ted Kennedy notes that he is working with a coalition of groups to call on Bushco to “increase FDA’s food safety resources.” And this notes that Bushco actually is proposing an increase in FDA funding from $510 million to $545 million, which is a pittance when compared with that money pit in Mesopotamia.

This should be surprising to no one after all this time living under Bushco, by the way. Our ruling cabal has waged actual war halfway around the world for oil, it has waged economic war through the continued offshoring of our jobs, it has spied on us with impunity thus far, it has refused to work on behalf of universal healthcare for those most in need, and it has done nothing while our planet continues to suffer the effects of global warming, among other ways it has harmed us. Why would it possibly choose to act on our behalf against those who would poison us as well?

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