Yeah, the USDA is still trying to kill you.

It’s still impossible for a US cattle ranch to have their cows independently tested. The USDA forbids it. All testing must go through the US agency, even though some 50 foreign countries think that USDA Mad Cow testing is inadequate and have banned shipments of US beef because of it. US trade representatives have tried telling these countries that testing every cow—like they do in Japan and couple of other countries—isn’t based on “sound science.” These countries appear unpersuaded, as the bans have remained in effect. I think you and I should be worried about it too.

If you’ve followed the actions of the USDA as closely as these nations have, I think you’d take a good, long look at your burger before you wolf it down. Next time you’re bored do a Google for “USDA lies” and casually click through some of the 81,000(!) results Google returns. What you’ll come away with is likely the same sort of paranoid conspiracy theory about the US meat industry that I’ve developed. Heck, do a search on my site for “USDA,” read what I’ve read, and see if you don’t reach the same conclusions.

The funny thing is that you don’t have to go to a bunch of obscure, pro-vegan web sites to find this stuff. The USDA’s one-after-another failures are happening in plain view for anyone to see. The latest is an independent auditor’s report on the USDA which found, unsurprisingly, some major problems:

    The report said the USDA was not testing adult cattle that died on the farm and had failed to test hundreds of cattle condemned due to possible central nervous system disorder — a symptom of mad cow disease and many other diseases…

    The report also said the USDA failed to test 518 of the 680 cattle condemned at slaughter for central nervous system symptoms between fiscal 2002 and 2004. Those symptoms indicate an animal could be suffering from one of several illnesses, including mad cow disease.

    The USDA said it would not comment on past events, saying it has taken the necessary steps to ensure that another incident doesn’t occur.

If you read the article, you’ll find that “past events” as defined by the USDA means anything that happened before last month, which conveniently excuses virtually every mistake the organization has made since the Mad Cow scare hit the US. Not to worry, though, I’m sure new mistakes are in the offing.

As I’ve said before, I don’t think that BSE (the Mad Cow disease) is all that prevalent in US herds. At the same time, I’m increasingly sure it’s out there and that, thanks to the actions and inactions of the USDA, we have no idea whatsoever how safe our meat supply is. I’m also now convinced that these errors are intentional. There is no reason whatsoever to bar independent BSE testing unless the disease is more common than widely believed, so I can’t help but conclude that it is.

Thus, I continue to advocate vegetarian or organic diets or eating only imported meat from countries like Japan which test all cattle. If you disagree, I’d love to know why because the evidence seems to me to be overwhelming.