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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another case of BSE or mad cow disease was revealed yesterday to have been discovered in Canada. And didn't our puppet Secretary of Agriculture just murmur something along the lines of, "Nothin' gonna change, bahse, nothin' gonna change...we got us a deal."

Yup, they have a deal all right. Canada can do whatever they darned well please in regard to inspections (see Thoughts From the Middle of Nowhere, January archives on this). The folks from other nations who used to buy our meat can run scared because of the incredible carelessness of a meat packing company with its offices right here in NY, our industry can lose the trust of our local customers too, but we got us a trade deal with Canada, so nothin' is gonna change.

It makes me so mad. The markets we American producers depend upon for survival are being buried in imports, often illegal, (as in the case of milk protein concentrate, hauled in without tariffs to make cheese,) that are not produced under the same standards to which we are held. Our government spends a fortune checking up on us; here at Northview we have sometimes been under the thumb of as many as five different milk inspectors at one time. They regulate us to death and even expect us to dig into our own pockets to pay for it, as in the ongoing argument with the EPA over them coercing dairy farmers to monitor their own air emissions and even pay a fine up front.

Then they cook up deals, wherein any body who can do it cheaper or who can benefit big agribusiness consortia, even many that are based overseas, can import materials that were never subjected to those strictures. Thus we often get to pay for the privilege of putting ourselves out of business, while foreign entities sell our customers inferior and even downright unsafe products. Grrrr.....


Anonymous said...

I agree, all we can do is be a voice in the wilderness until the American public wakes up, at least I hope they do, and makes the USDA do its job of protecting the American food supply.

Ontario Wanderer said...

I'm feeling 1. a bit defensive as a Canadian and 2. quite a bit away from the actual facts as a non-farmer but I do have a couple of comments for what they are worth.

First, according to our news, the cow with BSE, was 6 years old and cattle more than 18 months are not sold to the USA.

Second, the cattle industry in western Canada has almost been destroyed by USA and Japan, etc. not buying cattle after the last case of BSE and that cow was reported to have been purchased in the US before being identified as having BSE up here in Canada.

Third, and admittedly somewhat off topic re BSE, the lumber industry in Canada, which is one of the major Canadian industries, has been forbidden for years now from selling to the U.S. for some economic reason cooked up by the U.S. Forestry which has been found in every court case to be false and illegal.

Hope I did not offend you too much but I needed to say that. I think we all, on both sides of the border, are doing our best to survive and have no desire to sell any bad products to anyone. I, personally, am very glad that I am not a farmer in these days as I read about the numbers of innocent, healthy cows, chickens, ducks, etc. being killed to keep disease from spreading. It's the huge factory numbers of livestock in one location that is causing disease to spread I think. That and the huge numbers of people that seem to think they need to eat cows, chickens, ducks, etc.

threecollie said...

I am not a bit offended by your opinions. I think a blog should be a bit of a forum, wherein people get to share their views.
On the other hand, I could go on for quite a while on the different rules allowed by different nations in food production. The USA is absurdly restrictive, and yet our department of agriculture allows other countries, with far less restrictive rules, very free access to our markets. And the USDA plans to open the border to all beef within the year, allowing older cows and dairy cows virtually unrestricted entry.
Having said that, in my personal opinion, BSE is more media hype than a real threat to anyone. The problem is that, however poorly informed they may be, the media is powerful and people's perceptions color their purchasing habits.
Thanks for dropping by and feel free to comment any time. You are more than welcome.

Ontario Wanderer said...

Thanks for accepting my opinion.

It appears that some parts of what I said was in error according to a CBC news report that just came out this morning. The cow that I heard was from the States was from Britain and the movement of cattle was at a different age. (That's what I get for not checking what I think with what I can find out by a bit of research.)

Anyway, here is some more Mad Cow news from north of your border that just arrived on my computer news this morning.


(How long would this exchange have taken 20 years ago? I do like modern technology in the computer world.)

threecollie said...

Thanks again for taking time to comment and for a valuable link with a useful timeline on the progress of the disease above the border. I bookmarked it to use for future research.

On the speed of the Internet issue. I just came from a meeting, where most of the members are not the sort to use this medium to communicate.
They don't know what they are missing. Twenty years ago, you and I couldn't even have shared our thoughts on this topic, unless we somehow met by chance. Today we have an opportunity to help each other be better informed and more understanding of each other's positions.