Saturday, January 10, 2004


Panthers and taxes: Tools of land-grabbers

The goals of the Wildlands Project are to convert "at least" half of the U.S. land area to wilderness, to manage "most" of the rest of the land for "conservation objectives," and to force people to live inside urban boundaries in what's euphemistically called "sustainable communities."

Although this bizarre plan has never been debated or adopted by Congress, it is being implemented in dozens of ways by governments at every level, through a variety of feel-good programs, all working toward the Wildlands Project goals.

Two of these programs are especially sinister: reintroduction of the "Florida panther" and taxing Tennessee air.

According to Jan Michael Jacobson, a Florida scientist who specializes in Everglades ecology, there is no such thing as a "Florida" panther. The cats being reintroduced into the Everglades were catnapped from Texas, where they are considered vermin and legally shot as pests. When the Fish and Wildlife Service brings them across the Florida border, they are dubbed "Florida" panthers and declared to be an endangered or threatened species entitled to legal protection.

Jacobson says these cats are known to prefer children in the 5-to-9-year-old range, but will eat pets, which are much easier to catch than wild prey. This fact must have guided the government agencies that deposited the panthers at the edge of the Everglades, between two campgrounds, one of which is designed for elementary school children...

Friday, January 09, 2004


Gory Details Released About Fatal Lion Attack Sheriff's officials say an autopsy has confirmed that Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, 35, was mauled to death by a mountain lion in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in southern Orange County. Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said that "removal of organs from the chest and abdominal cavity due to a predatory animal, in this case a mountain lion" was the official cause of death. Authorities believe that Reynold's bike chain had fallen off and he was repairing it when he was attacked. Anne Hjelle, 30, is in serious condition on Friday after several other bikers pulled her away from a lion in a tug-of-war. She suffered non-life-threatening wounds to her neck, head, back and legs...USFS Fiscal Study Leads to Staff Cuts The United States Forest Service (USFS) is thinning its employee ranks, firing 80 vehicle mechanics statewide - including three who work in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County. However, employees on the chopping block don't plan to go down without a fight. An internal USFS study, released Jan. 7, concluded it would be cheaper to hire outside contractors to perform the duties of current employees in the vehicle fleet maintenance divisions of the state's 18 national forests. USFS regional press officer Matt Mathes said the fired employees will not be abandoned by the forest service, which plans to use a six-month transition period to help the workers decide what to do after they are let go...Snowshoeing boom creates back-country feud The noise in the backcountry has nothing to do with snowmobiles. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers know where to go to get away from the piercing cackles of racing two-cycle engines. The problem is that snowshoeing is booming, that a huge proportion of snowshoers are beginners and their lack of etiquette is really ticking off the cross-country skiing public. Snowshoers who don’t watch where they’re stepping are getting yelled at a lot on Oregon’s backcountry trails...NEPA "modernization' discussed A consortium of state and federal officials met Thursday in a roundtable discussion to figure out how to "modernize" the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The conference, which continues today at Copper Mountain Resort, was held to discuss how to streamline NEPA processes, restore the original intent of the act, encourage collaboration between state, federal and local entities and get the public more involved in the process. Conference attendees agreed NEPA is still a valuable document. But in the 33 years since its implementation, it has become cumbersome for those proposing projects, has alienated the public from participation and has forced project applicants to generate giant reports in fear their data won't be deemed adequate, said Fred Wagner, a Washington, D.C., attorney whose firm focuses on environmental review and permit processing...Kempthorne defends downlisting of Canadian gray wolves Governor Dirk Kempthorne is joining the Bush Administration in defending the federal government’s decision to “downlist” Canadian gray wolf populations in Idaho. The Kempthorne Administration and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will stand with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in a lawsuit filed by several environmental groups seeking to stop U.S. Fish and Wildlife plans to downlist the wolves from endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed rule was originally announced by the Clinton Administration in July of 2000...Endangered Species Act Hits 30-Year Mark "It's the pre-eminent anti-growth act in America, the pre-eminent anti-housing, anti-construction, anti-new road law in America. That's not what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be the pre-eminent species protection act in America," said property rights activist Laer Pearce. In the last two years alone, the federal government has set aside 38 million acres of so-called critical habitat, including three parcels each the size of Rhode Island — one for a bird, one for a frog and the last for an owl. Critics say that as a result of the act, endangered flies have blocked freeway construction, spawning salmon have brought down dams and suckerfish in Oregon have put hundreds of farmer out of work. In California, a shrimp that thrives in mud puddles gave government nearly de facto control over private property, effectively denying owners the right to build, farm or sell their land. "There is a lot of taking of land that happens," Pearce said, adding that hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost in the mining, construction, logging and farming industries. "We are forced to give away a lot of our land and very rarely is anything given in return."...Column: The lobo doesn't belong in Colorado The Rocky Mountain News' Jan. 2 article, "Wolves set to huff, puff, blow into state," and its accompanying sidebar mistakenly state that Mexican gray wolves may have originally inhabited Colorado. Though the taxonomy of wolves continues to evolve, one thing remains clear: Colorado's gray wolves were not the unique Mexican subspecies, Canis lupus baileyi. The highest U.S. priority for restoration of this animal, the lobo (or "desert wolf" in the words of pioneering ecologist Aldo Leopold), should be to Arizona's Sky Islands Ecosystem, where cool, forested mountains rise out of an ocean of desert. To the contrary, wolf taxonomy was originally elucidated by the federal agency that wiped out the species. That extermination campaign began in 1915 after wolves survived both state-sponsored bounties and ranchers' individual efforts to eliminate them. The last resident wolf in the American West was trapped in Conejos County, Colorado, in 1945...Two plans offered to protect migration corridor A coalition charged with developing a plan to protect a key wildlife migration corridor in western Wyoming has submitted two proposals for consideration. One plan outlines ways to address threats from oil and gas development, private land development, fencing and vehicle collisions to animals migrating through the historic Trapper's Point area west of Pinedale. That proposal, developed by the majority of the 22-member coalition, was submitted last month to Bureau of Land Management officials. The Wyoming Outdoor Council and other conservation groups, meanwhile, developed a counterproposal that calls for more ''no leasing'' for oil and gas development areas within the Trapper's Point bottleneck. The groups felt the original plan didn't do enough to protect migrating animals...Bear baiting opponents deliver signatures aplenty Opponents of bear baiting have more than enough signatures to put the question of banning the controversial practice before Alaska voters this fall, but pro-hunting groups are mobilizing for a fight they say will be one of the most important in the nation. "The bottom line is that the anti-hunting movement has decided bear hunting is the next target," said Rob Sexton of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. Along with a similar ban proposed in Maine, he said, "I expect this will be the biggest issue in 2004." Bear hunters say bait stations are necessary in areas of thick brush, and they note that drawing bears into the open ensures a clean shot on a legal animal. State law requires bait stations stay at least a mile from homes and a quarter-mile from roads or trails and be cleaned up afterward...IG, Ethics Office, clear Interior solicitor of conflict charges An investigation by the Interior Department's inspector general and a review by the Office of Government Ethics show that the former solicitor, William G. Myers III, generally sought to avoid conflicts with groups on whose behalf he had lobbied. "Mr. Myers' actions show a strong intention to comply with his ethics agreement and the rules governing conduct of government employees," wrote Amy L. Comstock, chief of the Office of Government Ethics, in a letter obtained by The Associated Press. "Based on the evidence presented in the report of investigation, we have concluded that Mr. Myers did not violate his ethics agreement with regard to any of the meetings raised" in a complaint by environmental groups, wrote Comstock, who was appointed by President Clinton...Party Leaders Agree Environment Could be Key for Swing Voters in '04 Elections; Environment2004 Called 'Most Interesting' Group Targeting Bush, Allies Records Environmental issues could be the key issue for swing voters in the 2004 Presidential and Congressional elections, according to Democratic and Republican leaders interviewed by Living On Earth, a nationally syndicated radio program that airs 302 National Public Radio stations starting this weekend. Reporters who want to preview the show can view the transcript at or listen to it online starting at 5 p.m. today by visiting The show suggests that Environment2004, the first Democratic environmental Section 527 organization, could be the most interesting group focusing on environmental issues. Section 527 groups are allowed to collect soft money to fund direct voter contact and issue messaging. Next week the Environment2004 Education Fund is co-sponsoring a major environmental address by former Vice President Al Gore attacking the Bush Administration's policies on global warming and the environment at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 12 p.m...Rancher objects to rail route When it comes to the preferred route for shipping 77,000 metric tons of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, Warm Springs rancher Joe Fellini lies right in the path. The northern Nye County public lands advocate offered an early indication to Nye County Commissioners meeting here Tuesday that ranchers will put up a stiff fight before allowing the Department of Energy to ship nuclear waste through their grazing lands. Fellini said the federal government is misleading the public in a notice published in the Federal Register Dec. 29, a request to withdraw 308,600 acres of public land. Fellini said he added up 1,002 sections listed in the notice, which, at 640 acres per section, would amount to a much greater land seizure of 641,280 acres. Fellini said the land withdrawal would cut him off from water sources. He told Nye County Commissioners he's unsure what affect it would have on his permitted animal unit months for grazing. Fellini reminded commissioners that ranchers are about the last source of tax base left in the area. The Department of Energy could take a shortcut by building a rail line through the Nellis Air Force Range, the Caliente-Chalk Mountain Corridor, which would be only 214 miles, but U.S. Air Force officials objected, he said...EPA Administrator Promises to Pursue Clinton-Era Pollution Lawsuits The Bush administration's top environmental official promised Friday to prosecute vigorously Clinton-era lawsuits against polluters even as his agency seeks to ease the clean-air standards that produced the litigation. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt said the administration would go forward with eight lawsuits filed against coal-fired plants that are among the nation's main sources of air pollution. He also indicated the administration may file new cases...Brucellosis investigation turns to neighboring elk The investigation into the cause of brucellosis in a western Wyoming cattle herd will soon focus on elk that gather at an adjacent state feedground. ''We have plans to catch as many elk on that feedground as possible and test them for exposure to brucellosis,'' said Terry Kreeger, Game and Fish Department veterinary research services supervisor. The tests could help determine whether the herd was infected by elk...Cowboy built Ford-tough He's got the kind of cool name - to say nothing of the grit, gumption, style and smarts - that befits a someday world champion. And, for the record, the designer genes he brings into the rodeo arena aren't bad, either. Son of a gun, a son of a legend is making his mark. Which is to say that Royce Robert Ford of Kersey, a 22-year-old 6-footer with boyish good looks, the kind of shy smile guaranteed to turn a buckle bunny all dewy inside, and $148,584 in 2003 earnings, is the third-ranked bareback bronco rider in the world. Even more eye-popping is Ford's M.O. for reaching that pinnacle...On The Edge Of Common Sense: Northern bronc riders have time to practice Since 1980, all but two of the World Champion Saddle Bronc riders have come from the Hi-Line; Montana, Alberta, North Dakota or South Dakota. The question is why? Theories abound: Bronky horses do better in blizzards, wind, ice and snow; cowboys who can ride bronky horses do better in blizzards, wind, ice and snow; judges are tougher in blizzards, wind, ice and snow; cowboys whose names end in son, sen, ibbs, or auer do better in blizzards, wind, ice and snow...Artsy to boot Among the boots the museum will feature are a red-and-white pair that belonged to cowboy singer/actor Gene Autrey and a pair of Kilgore Rangerette boots. The oldest pair on display, which are black with a green butterfly, are from 1925 and are an example of how boots looked back then, Nielsen says. There's also a beautiful pair of pink-and-brown boots with multicolored silk embroidery, a shark-skin pair that Justin made for the winner of the annual All-Around Cowboy title and a pair of John Justin Jr.'s TCU boots. "He just wore them to one game and ended up making pairs for every team in the [now defunct] Southwest Conference," Nielsen says. There's also a pair of cowboy-boot roller skates, because "anything you can do, you can do better wearing boots," John Justin Jr. once said...

USDA Technical Briefing and Webcast On BSE with Dr. Ron DeHaven, Chief Veterinary Officer U.S. Department of Agriculture

Washington D.C.
Friday, January 9, 2004

MR. CURLETT: Hello. I'd like to welcome everybody to the BSE update for this Friday. My name is Ed Curlett.

Today we have Dr. Ron DeHaven, the chief veterinary officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He will make a statement, and then we will go to questions. Also on the line today we have Dr. Stephen Sundlof, of the Food and Drug Administration. He'll be available to take questions as needed.

To ask a question after the statement, hit the star key and number 1 on your phone, and that will get you in the queue. We ask that you ask one question, as there's a lot of people on the line, and we would like to get as many questions in as possible

With that, I will turn it over to Dr. DeHaven.

DR. DEHAVEN: Ed, thank you very much, and also I would like to extend my welcome and appreciation for everyone being on today's technical briefing.

Since our last briefing, we have some updates to our response effort as well as to our investigation.

First of all, Food Safety Inspection Service has submitted three rules and one notice for publication in the Federal Register next Monday. I'll list those in order. First, an interim final rule declaring that specified risk materials from animals over 30 months of age, and the small intestine of cattle of all ages, will be prohibited from entering the human food supply. Those specified risk materials include the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia, eyes, vertebral column, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia. Again, those would be from all cattle over 30 months of age and the small intestine from animals of all ages. Tonsils are already being excluded from going into the human food chain. That will become effective on Monday, when it is published in the Federal Register.

The second is an interim final rule expanding the prohibition on central nervous system tissue in Advanced Meat Recovery products.

The third is a final rule to prohibit air-injection stunning of cattle at slaughter.

And the fourth is the notice, which announces that FSIS inspectors will not mark ambulatory cattle that have been targeted for any BSE surveillance testing as "inspected and passed," until negative test results are obtained.

We are still working to develop the details of our surveillance program, and exactly how we will obtain samples from the high-risk population of animals, which certainly includes non-ambulatory animals. And, as you know, we have focused our efforts in getting those samples in the past at slaughter. So we are working on mechanisms to continue to have access to those animals at other locations, such as the rendering plants.

We will also look forward to any recommendations that may be forthcoming from the international review team that will be arriving later this month as it relates to recommendations they would have to revisions to our overall surveillance program.

Also, in light of the fact that we may now need to have a quick turnaround for samples in our surveillance system, we are going to begin accepting applications for BSE tests. Our Center for Veterinary Biologics has up until now been accepting and reviewing data from companies that have various rapid tests, but they have not formally been accepting applications for license or permit up until now. Currently, the only BSE test approved for use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the immunohistochemistry or IHC test. Internationally this is recognized as the gold standard, and is certainly the standard that is applied in the test that we have used at our National Veterinary Services Laboratories to confirm the BSE detection in December. This test, depending on the logistics of collecting and submitting the samples, as well as the three to five days that it takes to run the test, then result in about a two-week turnaround time from sample collection to final results.

With these new rapid screening tests that might be licensed by our Center for Veterinary Biologics, we will continue to do confirmatory testing of any BSE presumptive positive on any of those tests at our National Veterinary Services Laboratories, again using the gold standard IHC test.

Specific information about how companies can apply for a BSE diagnostic kit license will be posted on our USDA website momentarily.

I also have an operational update for you as it relates to our ongoing investigation in the state of Washington. USDA will soon begin to remove a limited number of cows from the index herd in Mabton, Washington. At this time we will most likely remove approximately 130 animals from this herd that consist of approximately 4,000 dairy animals. We are taking these animals, because we have determined through our ongoing epidemiological investigation that some of them were herd mates to the BSE-infected animal back in the birth herd in Alberta, Canada. This means that these animals could have potentially been exposed to the same feed source as the index or positive animal.

I would remind everyone, however, that even in the height of the BSE infections found in Europe, and most notably in the U.K., it was rare to have more than one or two animals that were affected in any single herd. But certainly applying our principle of abundance of caution, USDA believes that euthanizing these animals that may have been in the index positive animal's birth herd is an appropriate action to take at this time, and certainly consistent with our overall decision and response to this particular situation.

As our epidemiological investigation continues, it is certainly possible that we may need to depopulate other animals from this herd -- animals in the herd that's currently under state hold order in Mattawa, Washington, as well as other animals that may be placed as part of this overall investigation.

Just to reiterate where we are, as you will recall there were 81 animals that we know that came across the Canadian border into the United States on September 4th, 2001. Of those 81 animals, one was the positive cow; two are currently under hold order on the premises in Mattawa, Washington. We believe that seven of them went to another dairy, and we are working to determine if those animals are still there. Nine of them are located under hold order in the index herd, the herd from which the positive cow left immediately before going to slaughter. We do know that potentially some of the remaining animals in that group of 81 would still be on the index premises, but have not yet been able to identify them, or single them out, if you will, based on the records that we have.

Looking at the whole population of 4,000 animals, the process has been one of reviewing birth records of animals on the farm. And so from that group of over 4,000, we have been able to eliminate from the at-risk population of animals those that would have been born on this farm. We have also been able to eliminate from the at-risk population animals that may have entered the herd, but entered the herd at a time different from when we know this positive cow entered the herd. And so through this process of elimination we have narrowed the at-risk population down to about 258 animals that could have been part of this shipment of 81 animals.

So, of that 258 at-risk population, records would suggest that 110 of them have been pulled from the herd, and we are doing further investigation to trace those animals out. One hundred and twenty-nine of those at-risk population are still on the farm, and these are the ones that are being targeted for depopulation. There are 19 for which we have no record of them being culled from the herd, nor any other record to suggest that they are still on the farm. So we are again focusing a lot of our efforts to identify those other 19 animals.

One last thing before we move to a question and answer period is I just wanted to mention that we do have with us this week here in Washington, D.C. a Japanese technical team that is here on a fact-finding mission. They are gathering information from all of the relevant agencies, to include the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Food Safety Inspection Service, and FDA. And then next week they will be going on to the state of Washington to continue that fact-finding mission.

And next week here in Washington, D.C., we will be hosting another team, this one from Mexico, to again provide them with technical information as to where we are with regard to the overall investigation.

With that, let me pause and see what questions you may have. Operator, if we could, please, start with the first question?...

Followed by Q&A with reporters.

R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

January 9, 2004

R-CALF USA: U.S. Must Take Steps to Identify All Canadian Cattle in the U.S.

(Billings, MT) “The USDA’s confirmation that the cow with BSE found in the state of Washington on December 23 was imported from Canada reinforces R-CALF USA’s long-standing call to permanently identify all imported cattle and further establishes the need to begin identifying all Canadian cattle currently residing within our borders,” said R-CALF USA president Leo McDonnell.

McDonnell said U.S. cattle producers have suffered a serious financial blow as a direct result of our lax import policies. “Fed cattle prices have fallen 15 to 20 percent since December 23 because USDA did not immediately announce that the cow was imported from Canada,” he said. McDonnell explained that our export customers rely upon the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to determine the risk status of countries relative to BSE, and the OIE maintains a separate list for countries that have found BSE only in imported animals. This is because a country’s health status does not change if BSE is only found in imports. “Had our export customers been informed that this cow was of Canadian origin, it is likely that they wouldn’t have overreacted by closing their markets to U.S. beef; and they most certainly wouldn’t have overreacted if we had country of origin labeling in place,” he said.

“U.S. cattle producers should not have to assume the very real risk associated with the future possibility that an imported Canadian cow might lose her Canadian ear tag and subsequently tests positive for BSE,” McDonnell commented. Despite the fact that the Canadian cattle industry is in direct competition with the U.S. cattle industry, McDonnell warns that there is a dangerous campaign underway to convince U.S. cattle producers that the two competing industries should be considered a single, integrated North American cattle industry. “This is nonsense,” said McDonnell, adding, “Our members are proud to be United States cattle producers and we raise the safest and best beef in the world and under the very best of conditions. It’s high time we begin differentiating both our product and our cattle for our customers.”

McDonnell said R-CALF USA’s research reveals that identifying Canadian cattle imported into the United States since 1997, the year the U.S. implemented its feed ban to protect the U.S. cattle herd from BSE, is doable. R-CALF USA compiled the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) data that shows Canada exported 8.1 million head of cattle to the U.S. since 1997. Over 75 percent of these Canadian cattle were imported for immediate slaughter in U.S. packing plants. An additional 19 percent of these Canadian cattle exports were feeder cattle. “These cattle were placed in feedlots and it can be presumed that they too have been slaughtered in U.S. plants,” said McDonnell. This means that despite the high numbers of cattle imported into the United States over the past 7 years, it is most likely that only about 6 percent of these imported cattle still reside in the U.S.

For example, R-CALF USA’s analysis shows that in 2001, the year the BSE infected cow was exported to the United States, Canadian exports of live cattle numbered 1.3 million. Over one million, or 78 percent of these cattle went directly to slaughter leaving only 285,000 head in U.S. dairies, feedlots, farms or ranches. However, nearly 200,000, or over 15 percent of the total number imported were feeder cattle destined for slaughter in U.S. plants within 3 to 8 months. This leaves less than 85,000 head of cattle that may still be residing in the U.S. from the 2001 imports. McDonnell said that over 75,000 of these cattle are dairy cattle and as the USDA said repeatedly during its BSE investigation, the dairy industry maintains very good records making the tracking of such animals relatively easy. “Only 9,500 were breeding-type beef cattle and the USDA can readily track these cattle through health inspection papers, sales transactions, and brand records,” McDonnell stated.

McDonnell said the U.S. and Canadian cattle industries are far from integrated. “At the very most, imported Canadian cattle since 1997 represent less than one-half of one percent of our 96.5 million head cattle herd in the United States, and that’s assuming that all the breeding dairy and beef cattle imported since 1997 are still alive,” said McDonnell. McDonnell said identifying these Canadian cattle could be expedited if the USDA were to offer an incentive for U.S. cattle producers to aid in the identification process. “U.S. Farmers and ranchers would be more than willing to help in the identification process if they were assured they would not face financial penalties by marking any imported cattle in their possession,” he said.

When asked about the trade flows of U.S. live cattle exports to Canada, McDonnell said the data will likely shock the U.S. live cattle industry. The United States has imported 8 times more Canadian live cattle than it exported to Canada since 1997, and Canada enjoyed over a 9 to 1 advantage based on value, with the U.S. importing $6 billion worth of Canadian cattle since 1997 but exporting less than $620 million,” he said. “This has been a one-way street for quite some time,” said McDonnell.

R-CALF USA has posted its charts on imports of Canadian cattle at


R-CALF USA, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America is a national, non-profit cattle association representing cattle producers in the areas of trade and marketing. R-CALF USA has approximately 9,000 individual members in 46 states and 55 affiliated local and state cattle and farm organizations. For more information, visit or call 406-252-2516.

Cargill cutting beef jobs Cargill Inc. is cutting about 700 jobs at five beef-processing plants in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, citing lost exports of U.S. beef following the discovery of a case of mad-cow disease. Cargill's Excel Corp. unit said yesterday that it was laying off 100 to 150 people at each of the plants. The five plants each employed 2,200 to 2,500 people. "A number of countries have banned U.S. beef, and there are some products we will not now be processing for export. That has led to the layoffs," said Bill Rupp of Excel...Column: Coming to Terms With the Problem of Global Meat It has been instructive watching American agriculture respond to this minicrisis. The usual players have retreated to their usual corners. Some cattle growers have publicly praised the beef checkoff program, which collects a small percentage of the sales from every producer for advertising, because it creates the illusion of a unified voice in a time of trouble. Supporters of country-of-origin labeling, which would identify the source of every cut of meat, have promoted its potential virtues, while opponents argue that it would make no difference or be too expensive. The real necessity is to provide accurate, detailed tracking of every individual animal, though the United States Department of Agriculture is poorly equipped to make it happen anytime soon. The inherent logic of all these positions is simply to make the status quo safer, so global meat can go about its business uninterrupted. But what is needed to avert a major crisis is real change, from the bottom up. The global meat system is broken, as a machine and as a philosophy. In America, meatpacking has gone from being a widely distributed, widely owned web of local, independent businesses into a tightly controlled, cruelly concentrated industry whose assumptions are utterly industrial...U.S. must check all cattle for BSE as condition for lifting beef ban The government is willing to lift its ban on beef imports from the United States if Washington follows Japanese procedures and tests all cattle for mad cow disease before shipping the meat, officials said. Alarmed by the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, officials said Japan cannot afford to be complacent since the United States was the second-biggest supplier of beef to Japan after Australia. Officials in the ministries of agriculture and health agreed all cattle parts known to be at risk of BSE infection must be removed prior to shipping. In addition, they said all cattle must be inspected for mad cow disease before the beef is transported to Japan. The government likely will ask the private sector to pick up the tab for inspections, the sources said. Officials said a formal decision on what course to pursue would have to wait until a government investigation team returns from a study tour of the United States and Canada and submits its report...Teamsters urge ban on 'mad cow milk' The turmoil from the nation's first case of mad cow disease took yet another turn as a union representing locked-out Darigold workers called for a ban on milk products linked to the mad cow's farm. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters petitioned the federal government to immediately ban the distribution of milk associated with the case...U.S. Consumers Shrug Off Mad Cow Scare It will take more than a single Holstein with mad cow disease to keep consumers like Ralph Flores from eating their beloved beef. "It would take a major epidemic,'' Flores said as he bought beef sausage at Paulina Market, a North Side butcher shop where beef sales never faltered until a blast of winter weather hit the city this week. More than two weeks since the emergence of the first case of mad cow in this country, prompting a widespread ban on U.S. beef overseas, the beef industry's worst fears have not been realized. There's been no evidence the disease has spread, and Americans have stood steadfast to their steaks...Australia bids to fill beef shortfallJapanese officials were told Australia could fill the shortfall in beef supplies caused by America's mad cow disease scare. At a meeting with Japanese agriculture and trade officials, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) said local producers could step in to provide more beef to the Japanese market. The US supplied about a third of Japan's beef, with Australia not far behind. Since the ban, prices for Australian chilled grass-fed beef have climbed 47 per cent. In nearby South Korea, which is Australia's third largest beef market, prices for Australian produce is up 20 per cent. Friday's meeting was a chance for the Japanese officials to learn if Australia, still suffering from the drought, would be able to cover the shortfall caused by the American beef ban. The Australian officials said there was scope to fill any shortfall, particularly if demand for beef in the US drops...Americans Not Worried by Meat Scares, Polls Show A Gallup survey commissioned by CNN and USA Today and released on Friday showed that only 16 percent of adults were worried about becoming victims of mad cow disease, while 17 percent said they had cut back or stopped eating meat. The Gallup poll of 1,000 adults found just 6 percent of Americans think the mad cow situation in the United States is a crisis. More than half said it was a minor problem. "There has been no change in consumer beef buying at the retail level since mad cow," said Jordan Trout, meat analyst with Topco Associates...Japanese officials advise against selling U.S. steaks imported before ban Japanese authorities have asked merchants not to sell 58 tons of U.S. T-bone steaks following the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, an official said Friday. T-bone steaks are considered more likely than some other beef products to carry the proteins believed to cause mad cow disease, said Health Ministry official Makoto Kanie. Health officials are trying to track down how many of the steaks were imported before the ban and are still in stock. Records show at least 58 tons of U.S. T-bones were imported in 2003, but it's not known how many have been consumed, Kanie said. Authorities may decide to recall those still in stock, he added...Texas cattlemen cheered by auction prices first cattle auctions in Texas since the holiday break have encouraged ranchers and others worried about the impact of the mad cow scare on prices. A survey by the Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas found cattle prices were down only about 6 to 10 percent from the record $1 per pound late last year before the mad cow case was confirmed in Washington state...After mad cow, U.S. farmers warily back animal ID America's traditionally independent farmers will drop their distrust of outside meddling to embrace a national livestock identification system as a safeguard against mad cow disease, leaders of the largest U.S. farm group say. The Bush administration included speedy adoption of animal IDs among its new protections, headlined by a ban on using sick or crippled animals in food, after the Dec. 23 discovery of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease. However, it remains unclear whether the administration wants livestock IDs to be voluntary or mandatory. A consortium of state, federal and livestock industry officials are drafting a voluntary animal identification plan. Its first step is to issue identification numbers to U.S. farms, ranches and feedlots beginning in July. Assignment of ID numbers to individual animals is slated to begin in February 2005, starting with cattle, sheep and hogs. The chief goal is the ability to identify within 48 hours of a disease outbreak the animals involved and where they were raised, so disease will not spread. A uniform ID would be more reliable than the welter of numbering plans that now vary from farm to farm...

Lion Attacks O.C. Biker; Man Found Dead Nearby A bike rider was attacked by a mountain lion as she rode through a popular Orange County wilderness park Thursday, and the body of a man, who may have been killed by the same animal, was found nearby. If confirmed, the death would be the first killing of a human by a mountain lion in California since 1994. Hours later, sheriff's deputies shot to death a mountain lion spotted near where the man's body had been found. They said they were not certain they had killed the animal responsible for the attacks. Witnesses to the attack on the woman said the mountain lion clamped its jaws around her head and dragged her off the trail before she was rescued by other riders. "I have never seen anything like this — it was a tug of war between the mountain lion trying to drag her down the ravine by her face" and another cyclist "who had her by the legs," said Mike Castellano, 41, of Dana Point...Outgoing forester headed to D.C., Powell ends bid for elk foundation job Outgoing Northern Region Forester Brad Powell will work for the Forest Service in Washington, D.C., the agency said Thursday, and has declined a key position with the Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Powell, the Northern Region forester since 2001, had earlier turned down a Washington reassignment offered by Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, officials say, saying he would retire after 32 years with the Forest Service and work for the elk foundation as the conservation group's senior vice president of lands and conservation. The Office of Inspector General had investigated allegations that Powell used government computers to access pornography, the Missoulian newspaper reported last month. Bosworth told the paper the investigation found nothing criminal, said Powell was not being demoted, praised his work spanning three decades but said he had "concerns out of the investigation."...Feds ponder how to curb rogue OHVs Calling off-highway vehicles one of the four "great threats" to ecosystems, the U.S. Forest Service is considering new rules that would clamp down on unregulated OHV use. A special planning team of Forest Service officials met in Salt Lake City on Wednesday to begin planning strategies to better manage the exploding popularity of OHVs, particularly the ubiquitous all-terrain vehicle. In the near future, the Forest Service is expected to announce proposed changes to federal rules to virtually prohibit so-called cross-country OHV travel, in which vehicles depart from designated routes. The initiative is being met with cautious optimism by environmentalists and OHV advocacy groups, which still are trying to learn more about it...Timber sale south of Livingston stopped by environmentalists The U.S. Forest Service's Northern Region office in Missoula has halted a proposed sale of 4.5 million board feet of timber in grizzly bear habitat south of here, environmentalists announced Wednesday. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the Park County Environmental Council, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Native Ecosystems Council and two individuals all appealed the planned Windmill sale. "We're happy with the decision," said Jim Barrett, executive director of PCEC...Environmentalists seek to halt planned Jemez Mountain logging project A federal court has been asked to halt a proposal to salvage logs from 950 acres of burned Santa Fe National Forest in the Jemez Mountains. Two Santa Fe environmental groups—Forest Guardians and Santa Fe Forest Watch—filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to stop the project. The groups contend the U.S. Forest Service failed to properly evaluate the project in light of protected habitat around a pair of threatened Mexican spotted owls...USFS seeks alternatives to poisoning rainbow trout The U.S. Forest Service is looking at ways other than using poison to kill rainbow trout so native Paiute cutthroat trout can be restored in the southern part of Alpine County. The promise to create and analyze a list of alternatives less drastic than poison is in response to a successful legal challenge filed in August by the Center for Biological Diversity. The center and Nancy Erman, an aquatic ecology specialist who used to teach at the University of California at Davis, filed suit saying the project was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act because of inadequate environmental analyses...Parcels ready for swap The Bureau of Land Management is poised to trade almost 6,500 acres of federal land for 970 acres of private property across from Lakeside marina on Hauser Lake. If the exchange goes through as expected, the federal agency will have swapped a total of about 8,000 acres of BLM land for the 2,000-acre Ward Ranch, making that formerly private property public. The BLM lands used in the exchange were scattered throughout about 10 counties and included about 100 parcels ranging in size from 1 to 920 acres. The total dollar value of the swap will be about $3 million, although the BLM only needs to come up with about $63,000 in cash to make up the difference in land values...Officials investigate deaths of six wolves The Michigan DNR is investigating the deaths of as many as six wolves killed recently in the Upper Peninsula. Several appear to have died from gunshot wounds. On Nov. 26, conservation officer Durance Paul was investigating a report of a radio-tracking collar that was emitting a mortality signal. Preliminary examination suggests that the animal was killed by gunshot. The female wolf was originally captured this past July in Mackinac County, and was found dead in Chippewa County. Tracking collars are equipped with mercury trigger switches that set off a mortality signal when there is no longer any activity of the collared animal. Even movement as slight as breathing will prevent the collar from emitting this signal...National panel meets in Colorado on environmental legislation Environmentalists expressed guarded optimism Thursday about a regional forum on efforts to modernize one of the country's landmark environmental laws. They said a task force looking at updating the National Environmental Policy Act wants to involve the public from the start when such activities as oil and gas drilling or ski-area expansions are analyzed for their potential impact on the environment or endangered species. The Colorado meeting, also scheduled for Friday, was the fourth in a series across the country to gather public comments on a report released last fall by the National Environmental Policy Act Task Force. The panel was formed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2002 to study the law and includes federal employees and experts...Grijalva proposes new 84,500-acre wilderness On Saturday at 10 a.m., Congressman Raul Grijalva will release a proposal for a bill to preserve the Tumacacori Highlands as a federal wilderness area, totaling 84,500 acres. He has been working with members of the community, local elected officials and environmental groups to develop the plan, said his press spokeswoman, Natalie Luna...Drilling on top of Roan Plateau not necessary: Environmentalists cite BLM report Energy developers could access at least 90 percent of the natural gas reserves in the Roan Plateau planning area without drilling on public lands on top of the plateau, environmentalists say. They base that conclusion on an internal document prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Called a reasonable foreseeable development document, or RFD, it outlines the amount of gas development that might be expected in the planning area northwest of Rifle if there were few limitations in place...U.S. will need Bush energy bill, panel declares America's insatiable demand for energy will require the development of vast new sources of natural gas, coal and oil and the construction of billions of dollars worth of pipelines, transmission lines and power plants, experts say. That will require new tax breaks and other incentives to encourage businesses to invest in new infrastructure and more liberal policies about extracting natural resources from government lands, including national forests and wilderness areas. And, at the bottom line, Congress needs to pass a controversial national energy bill proposed by the Bush administration. That was the message delivered by a panel of government officials and energy industry leaders Thursday at the annual Summit of the West conference sponsored by the Western Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce...Drilling on mesa riles up environmentalists Restrictions allowing natural gas drilling on Otero Mesa were proposed Monday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, angering environmentalists who say the guidelines are too lax. The agency's proposed Resource Management Plan was released after more than four years of study and discussion. It covers oil and gas leasing and development in Otero and Sierra counties in Southern New Mexico -- about 1.2 million acres on the border of Texas and New Mexico northeast of El Paso. "There will be a number of groups that will be protesting the issue, and this will ultimately end up in the courts," said Stephen Capra, associate director of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and an opponent of the proposal...Federal Charge of $25,280 to Fulfil Records Request Angers Activist The U.S. Bureau of Land Management answers about 100 Freedom of Information Act requests a year in California, usually without charging fees for its services. So it came as a shock to Sierra Club representative Edie Harmon of San Diego to learn recently that it would cost her group $25,280 for the BLM to provide the information she had sought in seven FOIA inquiries about off-road vehicle activity in California desert land managed by the agency. The Sierra Club plans to appeal the bureau's denial of a fee waiver in Harmon's case, and incorporate it into a lawsuit filed in March against the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the BLM. In that lawsuit, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness Society and the Alaska Wilderness League accused the Interior Department of illegally denying FOIA requests by environmental groups...Brucellosis testing could cost Wyoming ranchers millions Mandatory testing of breeder cattle for brucellosis could cost Wyoming ranchers more than $1 million a year, based on estimates from livestock and state officials. "It could become fairly costly," Wyoming Agriculture Department Director John Etchepare said. "It definitely is going to increase their cost of doing business." The Wyoming Livestock Board on Tuesday approved emergency testing rules to address concerns from other states about the safety of Wyoming cattle. In early December, 31 cattle in a western Wyoming herd were found to have brucellosis...It's a ropin' good time: From toughest cowboy to most-prized sheep, stock show delights Every January when he was growing up, J.D. Crouse would hop into the family rig, wave goodbye to his Nebraska ranch and ride six or seven hours to Denver - to a calf-ropin', steer-sellin', extended family reunion of sorts. This year, you should do the same, whether you've hit the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo & Horse Show all 97 times or never seen a sheep. When the 98th stock show draws 375 vendors, 15,000 farm animals and an estimated 650,000 people, you should be there. And your experience should be as authentic as possible...Canine cowboys at work: Cattle dogs save ranchers time, money The tiny ball of black-and-white fur darted back and forth behind the half-dozen calves, deftly dodging kicking heels to herd the livestock first left, then right. Mickey, an 8-year-old border collie that belongs to Land of Oz Cattle Dogs, of Colwich, was in the Expocentre's exercise arena Thursday, demonstrating prowess taught to her by owner John Mannebach. "If you have patience with them, they're going to save you a lot of time," Mannebach said, as he helped a younger pup, 9-month-old Dude, load the cattle into a waiting trailer...Lone vaquero storyteller energizes Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering A lone vaquero storyteller stands among the nearly 50 cowboy poets and musicians congregating this weekend for the 15th Annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Angel Vigil does not mind his solitary status. The gathering affords him an audience he might not otherwise reach. "A lot of people who are there, including the other performers, are either very interested in or directly connected to the ranch and cattle culture in the United States - the cowboy culture," Vigil said. "So to be able to do my work with those audiences is very fulfilling to me." Vaqueros were the world's first cowboys. In Spain, vaqueros were akin to shepherds and goat herders but watched cattle. They became cowboys when they started using horses to do their work in Spanish colonies in the New World...

Thursday, January 08, 2004


USDA Issues New Regulations To Address BSE Related Documents

The following regulations will be published in the Federal Register, and go into effect, on January 12, 2004.

Docket No. 03-048N, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance Program (PDF)

Docket 03-025IF, Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle (PDF)

Docket No. 03-038IF, Meat Produced by Advanced Meat/Bone Separation Machinery and Meat Recovery (AMR) Systems

Docket No. 01-033IF, Prohibition of the Use of Certain Stunning Devices Used to Immobilize Cattle During Slaughter (PDF)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2004 —The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service today issued four new rules to implement announcements made last week by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman to further enhance safeguards against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

On Dec. 30, 2003, Secretary Veneman announced a number of policies that will further strengthen protections against BSE, including the immediate banning of non-ambulatory (downer) animals from the human food supply. Rules to address the remaining issues are on display at the Federal Register today and are the result of many months of development. These policies involve: requiring additional process controls for establishments using advanced meat recovery (AMR) systems; holding meat from cattle that have been tested for BSE until the test results are received and they are negative; and prohibiting the air-injection stunning of cattle.

The rules released today include:

Product Holding. USDA is publishing a notice announcing that FSIS inspectors are no longer marking cattle tested for BSE as “inspected and passed” until confirmation is received that the cattle have, in fact, tested negative for BSE. FSIS will be issuing a directive to inspection program personnel outlining this policy.

Specified Risk Material. With the filing of an interim final rule, FSIS is declaring that skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia, eyes, vertebral column, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia of cattle 30 months of age or older and the small intestine of all cattle are specified risk materials, thus prohibiting their use in the human food supply. Tonsils from all cattle are already considered inedible and therefore do not enter the food supply. These enhancements are consistent with the actions taken by Canada after the discovery of BSE there in May. These prohibitions are effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

In this rule, FSIS is requiring federally inspected establishments that slaughter cattle remove, segregate and dispose of these specified risk materials so that they cannot possibly enter the food chain. To facilitate the enforcement of this rule, FSIS has developed procedures for verifying the approximate age of cattle that are slaughtered in official establishments. State inspected plants must have equivalent procedures in place to prevent these specified risk materials from entering the food supply.

Comments on this interim final rule will be accepted for 90 days after the publication of the rule in the Federal Register. Comments should be directed to: FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket #03-025IF, Room 102, Cotton Annex, 300 12th and C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Advanced Meat Recovery. AMR is a technology that removes muscle tissue from the bone of beef carcasses under high pressure without incorporating bone material. AMR product can be labeled as “meat.” FSIS has previously established and enforced regulations that prohibit spinal cord from being included in products labeled as “meat.”

This interim final rule expands that prohibition to include dorsal root ganglia, clusters of nerve cells connected to the spinal cord along the vertebral column, in addition to spinal cord tissue. In addition, because the vertebral column and skull in cattle 30 months and older will be considered inedible, they cannot be used for AMR.

Comments on this interim final rule will be accepted for 90 days after the publication of the rule in the Federal Register. Comments should be directed to: FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket #03-038IF, Room 102, Cotton Annex, 300 12th and C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700.

Air-Injection Stunning. To ensure that portions of the brain are not dislocated into the tissues of the carcass as a consequence of humanely stunning cattle during the slaughter process, FSIS is issuing an interim final rule to ban the practice of air-injection stunning.

Comments on this interim final rule will be accepted for 90 days after the publication of the rule in the Federal Register. Comments should be directed to: FSIS Docket Clerk, Docket #01-033DF, Room 102, Cotton Annex, 300 12th and C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
NOTE: Access news releases and other information at the FSIS web site at
For Further Information, Contact:
FSIS Congressional and Public Affairs Staff
Phone: (202) 720-9113
Fax: (202) 690-0460

Cattle Farmers Say They Used Legal Feed The Canadian farm couple who raised the Holstein at the center of the U.S. mad cow scare insisted Thursday that everything they fed it was legal. In a news conference televised across Canada, now-retired farmers Wayne and Shirley Forsberg said they were shocked when DNA tests showed the infected cow was part of a herd they sold in 2001. The news has shaken confidence in North American beef. The Forsbergs said their records show the infected cow was born at their farm in 1997 and raised there. "We fed legal feed in an approved manner," Wayne Forsberg said from the couple's home in Nisku, about 16 miles south of Edmonton. The couple would not identify the company that made the feed...Pro-vegetarian group PETA launches alternative mad-cow website at Type in rather than and Internet surfers seeking the latest on mad cow disease might think they've entered alternative cyberspace. The pro-vegetarian People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals launched its website Wednesday, happily noting the similarity to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association online address. The Denver-based trade group's site at promotes the wholesomeness of American beef products and insists the mad cow case reported in Washington state last month is a single isolated incident. But mistakenly type in and up pops a picture of a foaming-at-the-mouth cow and the warning, "It's mad to eat meat."...Japanese Officials, U.S. to Meet on Beef Agriculture and health officials from Japan will meet Friday with U.S. counterparts to discuss safety procedures for American beef after the mad cow scare. The Japanese group expects to visit Washington state and Canada next week before deciding whether to lift a ban on imports of beef from the United States...Germany Finds BSE Test Lapses German authorities say attempts to save money may have been the reason for lapses in mandatory testing of beef for bovine spongiform encephalopathy last year, a consumer protection official said Thursday. A comparison of the number of slaughtered cattle and of tests for BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease, showed meat from more than 500 animals -- considerably fewer than the 17,000 initially reported may have reached consumers, said Alexander Mueller, deputy minister for consumer protection and agriculture. "There was an attempt to save money by not conducting BSE tests on animals older than 24 months" as required by law, Mueller told Bayerische Rundfunk radio...CDC: Watch out for human mad cow cases Federal health officials Thursday urged doctors to be on the lookout for suspect cases of mad cow disease in humans. The concern stems from the first reported case of mad cow disease in the United States in Washington state last month. Humans can contract a fatal, brain-wasting condition known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from eating meat contaminated with the agent that causes mad cow disease. "The emergence of (mad cow disease) in the United States reinforces the need for physicians to be aware of the clinical features of vCJD in all patients, regardless of age," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in the Jan. 9 issue of its journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report...U.S. will expand mad cow testing The U.S. Department of Agriculture probably will expand testing for mad cow disease to convince Japan, the largest buyer of U.S. beef, that the meat is safe. Plans to almost double mad cow tests to 38,000 this year may be augmented and some healthy-looking cattle older than 30 months may be examined, said Barb Powers, director of Colorado State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. Currently only sick-looking cattle are tested. The $175 billion-a-year U.S. beef industry probably won't test all cattle, as Japan has demanded, because tests aren't sensitive enough to detect the disease in animals under 30 months, which represent 80 percent of those slaughtered, Powers said...Yoshinoya puts chicken on menu as beef runs out It looks increasingly likely that gyudon (beef bowl) restaurants may not be able to serve their signature dish as early as February if U.S. beef imports remain banned following that country's first case of mad cow disease. Gyudon restaurant chain operators plan to serve new dishes such as chicken and curry bowls to keep sales from falling, but it remains to be seen whether the new menus will find favor with customers. Restaurant chain operators are concerned that their revenues may take a beating...Column: As U.S. Pleads Mad-Cow Case, Past Practices Are a Handicap Days after the U.S. reported its first-ever case of mad-cow disease last month, American trade representatives rushed to Tokyo to try to persuade what had been the biggest foreign buyer of U.S. beef to lift its emergency import ban. But the trade delegation had a little-noticed handicap: The U.S. hasn't lifted a ban it placed on Japanese beef after the disease was first reported there more than two years ago. That prohibition has stayed put even though the Japanese have instituted the world's most extensive mad-cow testing program. Indeed, the U.S. during the past 14 years has been one of the nations quickest to slam shut its borders at the first sign of the fatal brain-wasting cattle disease -- a policy that puts the Bush administration in the awkward position of trying to persuade trading partners not to do what Washington has done in the past...Column: Mad Cows and Englishmen Considering the attention it has received from the media, one could easily receive the impression that Mad Cow Disease is a plague of inestimable dimension. Vegetarian activist groups such as People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals and The Center For Science in the Public Interest wasted no time in fanning the flames of fear. The appearance of one infected cow in Washington State (said bovine in fact being a Canadian immigrant) led them to trumpet the fearful consequences of consuming corn-fed Bossie. Which, of course, is an utter fabrication designed to further the odd agenda of those who spend their days campaigning against the ingestion of anything possessing a face. I'm not sure what is wrong with the radical vegetarians and animal activists. I don't know if they suffered childhood trauma, are mentally ill or simply failed so miserably at life amongst the humans that they view themselves as kindred souls with chickens, hogs and Herefords...Rep. Miller's sweeping mad cow plan East Bay Rep. George Miller, saying Wednesday that federal efforts to make the nation's beef supply safer had fallen short in the wake of the country's first case of mad cow disease, proposed that all 35 million to 40 million steers and dairy cows slaughtered annually should be tested for the disease. The beef industry said that Miller's sweeping proposal, which matches the strict inspection practices in countries where bovine spongiform encephalopathy has struck more widely, is unnecessary. Industry representatives said such a program, which could cost at least $1 billion, wouldn't effectively find animals with the slow-developing disease because most cattle are slaughtered long before they show any sign of it. Miller's plan was endorsed by food safety campaigners who say only testing all the slaughtered animals can guarantee a safe supply of beef. Like Miller, they fear the USDA hasn't taken enough steps to prevent the spread of mad cow, which has been linked to a brain-destroying disease in humans called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease...Importers Won't Take Shipments Of U.S. Beef: Japan, South Korea Unyielding on Ban All but a small fraction of 46,200 tons of U.S. beef at sea will be turned away from foreign ports, leaving the beef industry stuck with perishable products that must either make the two-week journey back home or be thrown away. David B. Hegwood, the Department of Agriculture's trade counsel, said Japanese and South Korean officials would not budge on their moratorium on U.S. beef imports, even for beef already en route when the first U.S. case of mad cow disease was detected last month. Some 2,200 container loads of beef, valued at $300 million, have been in limbo in the Pacific Ocean since the Dec. 23 discovery... Column: No Cow Left Behind For the first time in history the United States is faced with a confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease within its borders, but according to Northeastern University professor of chemistry Ira Krull there are many more undocumented cases just waiting to be discovered. "The American public should be concerned. At this moment, there is contaminated beef sitting in grocery stores and personal freezers across the country," said Krull. Krull, a strong advocate for mad cow disease testing of all slaughtered cows intended for market, suggests the U.S. follow the lead of countries such as England and Japan. England, in response to their mad cow disease epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, instates mandatory testing of all slaughtered cows intended for market, keep detailed records of all cows within their borders, and banned the use of all ruminant feed. Currently the U.S. and Canada lag on all accounts, says Krull...Sellers pleasantly surprised at Great Falls auction The stands were crowded, but quiet at the Western Livestock Auction in Great Falls Wednesday morning, as ranchers gathered to watch the area's first cattle sale since news broke two weeks ago of a mad cow disease case in Washington state. Sellers were pleasantly surprised. Prices for cull cows, the bulk of Wednesday's sales, were more than 50 cents per hundredweight, roughly what they brought Dec. 17 in the last Great Falls auction before mad cow hit the news. But the Great Falls auction was something of a warm-up, Standley added. Most of the animals sold were "cull cows" -- old or surplus animals bound for the hamburger market. The real test will be Saturday, when the Diamond Ring Ranch of Miles City auctions off 40,000 head of feeder calves...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Decision thwarts ranching advocates Ranching advocates winced after a federal judge chose to uphold a 1996 livestock removal order affecting the Gila National Forest and the Apache National Forest. A Dec. 23 press release from the Center for Biological Diversity announced that the Diamond Bar and Laney cattle companies will have to remove hundreds of cattle from two former national forest grazing allotments within 30 days of the Dec. 22 injunction or face severe federal penalties. The Diamond Bar allotment occupies 146,470 acres and the Laney allotment occupies 27,926 acres. Both allotments are located in Catron County, N.M. This precedent-setting decision sides with the U.S. Forest Service's opinion that grazing rights must be obtained by applying for a permit with the Forest Service. The Laneys tried to claim that by owning the private property rights, they did not need a permit to graze cattle on the land. The decision by the judge means the argument used by the Laneys was ineffective and that ranchers who are grazing without a permit will not be able to successfully use it to their defense in the future...New Potential Threat for Peregrine Falcons The impressive Peregrine falcon, which fought its way off the U.S. endangered species list less than five years ago, may soon be facing a different kind of threat. Findings published in the current issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology suggest that the creature's eggs may be susceptible to contamination from a popular flame retardant chemical, which scientists previously thought did not pose a threat to wildlife...Feds offer $7.1 million for private conservation The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a $7.1 million pie for private lands conservation, and landowners and their partners can seek a slice of the funding through March 8. The federal government this week put out the call for proposals for funding for "on-the-ground" conservation efforts that benefit imperiled species. In its second year, the Private Stewardship Grants Program last May funded 113 grants worth $9.4 million to individuals and groups to take on conservation projects for endangered, threatened and other at-risk species on private lands in 43 states...House of Sand and Strictures It is axiomatic that if you find a beautiful spot and build on it, you risk making the site less beautiful. That is especially true in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, where views are long, water is scarce and buildings can be seen for miles. Only 13 percent of Pima County, which encompasses Tucson, is open for development, according to John Strobeck, owner of the Bright Future Consulting Company, which analyzes the home building market in Tucson. The rest is government land: Indian reservations, parks and national forests. Development is further restricted by Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations demanding proof that any new home have adequate water for the next 100 years. Building sites must also be surveyed for plants like pineapple cactus and saguaro, and during construction, those plants must be either maintained or replanted. And then there is drought and risk of fire. Nevertheless, 7,000 homes are built each year in Pima County...HSUS Hollywood Office Releases Annual 'Foe Paw' Report '20/20's' John Stossel, 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' 'The Simpsons,' and 'Fear Factor' are given the thumbs down for their negative animal messages in the 2003 "FOE PAW" REPORT, the annual top ten dishonor role compiled by The Humane Society Of The United States (HSUS) Hollywood Office, part of the nation's largest animal-protection organization. The HSUS Hollywood Office monitors the news and entertainment media for its coverage of animal issues and, as presenter of the annual Genesis Awards, also honors the media for the very best in pro-animal coverage...Tony Curtis to unveil his artistic sheep As the first of quite a few celebrities painting bighorn sheep to save the endangered species, film actor Tony Curtis will present his artistic vision at 3 p.m. today at The Lodge at Rancho Mirage. The artist, Academy Award nominee and star of such films as "Some Like It Hot," painted the fiberglass replica that will be displayed and auctioned for charity. His bright acrylic canvases have been compared to Matisse...Search for Mexican gray wolf continues Two wolf experts, Don Lonsway and Mike Haen, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division were expected to arrive at Binder Park Zoo on Tuesday night to aid in the search of the missing Mexican gray wolf. The trained wolf biologists and trappers will aid zoo employees already scanning the area with their additional equipment and expertise of wild wolves. It's unclear what specific techniques they may use... Wolves kill Wamsutter cattle According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Wildlife Services has confirmed that wolves killed several beef cattle in the Wamsutter area. It appears that one or two wolves were involved in the killing and Wildlife Services animal damage control specialists have been authorized to remove up to two wolves from the area, which is not far from the Colorado border. Rancher Charlie Juare said when he began gathering cattle on the checkerboard area of the Red Desert north of Wamsutter right after Christmas, two extremely crippled cows were found, as well as other stiff and sore cattle. Injuries to the cattle include having their tails chewed off near the backbone and severely infected wounds to their front legs at the elbow. All of the affected cattle are yearling bred heifers weighing about 900 pounds at this time of year. One of the cows couldn't get up and subsequently died. Federal wildlife officials skinned her carcass and discovered the trauma associated with wolf predation. A second cow was killed as well, he said...2 more endangered wolves found dead Two more endangered Mexican gray wolves have been found dead bringing the total to 11 deaths in New Mexico and Arizona since March. A female wolf from the Hondah Pack was found dead on the White Mountain Apache Reservation on Christmas Eve. An alpha male of the Cienega Pack was found on the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona on Dec. 21. Both deaths are being investigated, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown said...Federal Coal-Mining Policy Comes Under Fire Internal government documents show that officials from a variety of agencies unsuccessfully criticized the Bush administration's effort to let coal miners continue the practice of "mountaintop removal" mining -- the leveling of mountain peaks to extract coal -- in Appalachia. At issue is a draft environmental impact statement analyzing the effects of the widely practiced technique on streams, wildlife and forests and proposing three approaches for regulation. Although the administration said all three approaches would improve environmental protections, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the administration's alternatives to regulate mountaintop removal mining "cannot be interpreted as ensuring any improved environmental protection," according to a document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request...Elk numbers plummet; wildlife managers respond by regulating hunters Elk numbers continue to plummet in the northern Yellowstone elk herd, according to a report released late Tuesday. The herd is now the smallest it's been since the 1970s. A Dec. 18 flight by state and federal biologists found 8,355 elk despite "relatively good survey conditions," which means good weather and enough snow to make elk visible from the air. That's a drop of at least 880 elk, or 9.5 percent, from last year's count of 9,215, when conditions were poor and biologists said they probably missed a lot of elk. The herd has dropped by an average of 6 percent a year since 1994, when the herd had at least 19,359 elk. That timespan coincides with the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995... In Selling Nature's Treasures, Dozens Buy Trouble Yesterday, officials with the National Park Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries announced the sting operation based at the Elkton store. It was all part of a multiyear, multi-state investigation into the illegal harvest or sale of American ginseng and black bear organs, much of it for exportation to Asia. More than 100 people from several states could face charges resulting from the investigation, which tracked the illicit plants with a recently developed arsenal of special dyes and silicon chips. More than 40 people have been been charged in sealed indictments. Two were in custody...BLM orders more study of coal-bed methane drilling plan Agreeing in part with concerns raised by a conservation group, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday ordered more environmental analysis on 18 planned coal-bed methane wells southwest of Gillette. Marathon Oil Corp., through its subsidiary Pennaco Energy, has not yet begun drilling the wells and the remanding of the environmental study does not revoke or suspend drilling permits the BLM granted in September, according to Phil Perlewitz, acting deputy state director for minerals and lands. No timetable is set for the additional study. "I would anticipate it would be done as soon as possible," Perlewitz said...Western Shoshone tribes divided over land dispute with government Two elderly Indian sisters haul hay, mend fences and round up cattle at their ranch in this remote Nevada valley. Between chores, they spearhead one of the most controversial land battles in the West. It's a conflict that has pitted Western Shoshone Indians against the federal government for decades and deeply divided Western Shoshone tribes along the way. At its center are Mary and Carrie Dann, obstinate and blunt women whose deeply lined faces and callused hands speak of a life of hard work on this arid, high desert. Many people consider the sisters modern Indian heroes. Others consider them fanatics out of touch with reality...Pair 'duel' over badlands Ten months after Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson challenged his New Mexico counterpart to settle a land dispute with a duel, they took up their guns. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (left) and New Mexico counterpart Patrick H. Lyons get set to 'duel' south of Austin. Patterson's challenge last year led to Wednesday's photo op. Sort of. Patterson and New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Patrick H. Lyons traded pleasantries instead of gunfire Wednesday as they posed with .44-caliber flintlock dueling pistols during a trip to an exotic game ranch. The 145-year-old land dispute involves 603,485 acres in West Texas that New Mexico lawmakers said they lost because of a flawed survey. The strip of land is three miles wide and 320 miles long, according to the New Mexico State Land Office, which called it land "that technically belongs to New Mexico." It includes the Texas towns of Texline, Farwell, Bledsoe and Bronco, the Texas General Land Office said. (Take a look at the photo and you will see which state raises real cowboys)...Column: Mainstreaming Green The environmental movement has spent three years playing defense against a president they call the most anti-environment in history. Now they want payback, and hope to pull off a notoriously tough task: making green issues a big deal in a national race. Already, the environment has become an issue in the Democratic contest, though not always in the way environmentalists would hope. Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) campaign recently circulated literature that misleadingly claims Howard Dean compiled a poor environmental record as Vermont governor. But looking beyond the primaries, there are signs that green issues could play an important role this year, when the environmental differences between the eventual nominee and Bush will be massive compared to any between the Democrats themselves. Enviros say their 2004 campaign will be bigger and, more importantly, better than past cycles, and strategists believe the White House's dismantling of environmental protections leave Bush vulnerable to attack...Bush planning to add another Utahn to EPA The Environmental Protection Agency is in position to pluck another Utahn -- this time, former Gov. Mike Leavitt's chief of staff. President George Bush on Wednesday announced he intends to nominate Charlie Johnson, 67, to work as chief financial officer of the EPA. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, president of Huntsman Cancer Foundation and member of the Utah Board of Regents, will again join forces with Leavitt, who now heads the agency...County joins desert posse in get-tough desert dust operation The county joined nine Coachella Valley cities in adopting a law to dramatically reduce desert dust by 2006. Riverside County's participation in the region's stringent Fugitive Dust Control Ordinance was crucial because it means builders and developers can't escape dust control requirements by moving projects outside local city boundaries. "It is the most serious air quality problem in the desert," Supervisor Roy Wilson said of the tiny dust particles known as PM10 - meaning particulate matter is less than 10 microns in diameter. Coachella Valley skies have exceeded federal limits on PM10 since 1999. The Environmental Protection Agency has given the valley until 2006 to clear the skies...SRP, UA plot history of Arizona droughts to gauge threat now Salt River Project and the University of Arizona will study droughts dating back nearly 1,500 years in an effort to gauge how serious a threat the current drought is to the region's long-term water supply. Researchers in UA's Tree Ring Laboratory will reconstruct annual runoff and streamflows on the Salt, Verde and upper Colorado rivers and some of their tributaries. Those rivers provide much of the Valley's drinking water. Findings from the joint study could help SRP and other water agencies better plan for droughts, offering hints about how long dry spells can last on the major rivers and how often drought occurs on two major river systems at the same time... Earthquakes rattle Jackson area Four earthquakes shook the Jackson, Wyo., area early Wednesday morning, including a magnitude 5.0 earthquake that was the largest ever recorded in Teton County. The 5.0 quake struck at 12:51 a.m. and shook for about six seconds, according to Lance Cook with the Wyoming State Geological Survey. The quakes were centered near lower Slide Lake just outside Kelly, Wyo., which is northeast of Jackson. After the first shake, a 3.7 earthquake was recorded at 1:27 a.m., followed by a 4.1 earthquake at 1:44 a.m. and a 4.0 earthquake at 2:23 a.m. The quakes happened in the area of the Gros Ventre Fault, which lies beneath the Gros Ventre mountain range. The area, which typically experiences several quakes a year, was the site of a 3.5 earthquake on Dec. 30...Mexican charreada Gerardo "Jerry" Diaz has vowed to keep the tradition of charro alive through acts woven into the Mexican extravaganza he will present this weekend at the National Western Stock Show. The event will feature a new spin on a historic event: the charreada, featuring the skillful horsemanship of charros, Mexican gentlemen known for horsemanship, roping and preserving the ethics of family life...Some cuss words aren't really cuss words I suspect the commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain has kept a lot of good people out of heaven, especially those who own livestock or who work with worn-out farm machinery. I doubt the Lord himself could load hogs or operate a hay baler without losing his temper. Through history we read of the teamster who could singe the hair on his mule's ears with profanity and the prevaricator who could cuss like a sailor. I can still taste the lye soap Grandma Trew used to wash my mouth after I uttered my first cuss word in her presence. Though her remedy was more effective than a month of sermons, it would be judged as cruel and unusual punishment by today's standards and bring about a lawsuit. That could be the reason Grandpa Trew's worst words were "my goodness."...
Nevada Live Stock Association
9732 State Route 445, #305
Sparks, NV 89436

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2003

Testimony Favors Court Order Before Cattle Impoundment

The Nevada Live Stock Association (NLSA) once again defended "due process" to be afforded those in the cattle industry threatened with impoundment actions by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). "Personal property in cattle is the subject matter of the state not the federal government or Bureau of Land Management (BLM)," said NLSA Lawyer Mike Van Zandt. The hearing occurred December 22, 2003 in the Second Judicial District Court, Reno, Nevada. Judge Janet Berry presided over the court motions and testimony.

As filed, "The purpose of the hearing is to determine the validity of action on the part of the department (Department of Agriculture) in determining whether the BLM is in legal possession of impounded cattle and issuing Brand Inspection Clearance Certificates to the BLM for impounded cattle." (Case No. CV03-06171).

Unforeseen admissions occurred during the testimony phase of the hearing. Under cross-examination from NLSA attorney Van Zandt both Department of Agriculture Director Don Henderson and head brand inspector Jim Connelley admitted that it had been the "firm policy" of the department not to allow impoundment and sale of cattle by any person without a court order. Henderson and Connelley in testimony alleged that after consultation with Deputy Attorney General and her subsequent issuance of an unofficial opinion letter regarding BLM livestock impoundment they had changed their "firm policy". Gina Session, at the time was a Deputy to Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and now serves under Attorney General Brian Sandoval.

Connelley testified that, "I still think it is abhorrent to not have a court order." In addition, from the witness stand he pointed at his own attorney, Gina Session, and said, "It was you that told us to do it this way."

Don Henderson, also under cross-examination, testified that the Brand Department changed their "firm policy" upon the instruction of Frankie Sue Del Papa, through Gina Session.

Essentially, the testimony revealed a doubt between the Department of Agriculture and Gina Session on the issue of the validity of the BLM not having to produce a court order for documentation of legal possession. From the testimony, it appeared that the brand department before Frankie Sue Del Papa and Session's interference had been relying upon their interpretation of the Nevada Revised Statutes and over 100 years of brand law. The Department's "firm policy" was based upon the brand being prima facie evidence of ownership in a dispute. Anyone disputing the brand had to prove otherwise, before legal possession could take effect.

"Our sources have told us that contracts were issued to federal rustlers to confiscate 3,000 head of livestock which could easily be accomplished under Session's unofficial opinion. This policy exposes the State to an extraordinary liability, while it allows the federal government to play fast and loose with rancher's property," said Ramona Morrison, NLSA Secretary.

Van Zandt established crucial evidence during argument and testimony that the Brand Inspection Clearance Certificates issued at the Colvin cattle impoundment for the BLM were issued because the BLM was a "very special person" who did not need a court order like everyone else.

"The owner (Ben Colvin) of record appeared in the left hand corner where it is supposed to, and the branded cattle were listed with Ben Colvin's brand, and yet, a third party signs as the owner or authorized agent. So, I do agree it is abhorrent," said Jackie Holmgren after the hearing was concluded. "If this kind of brand inspection is now to be considered lawful, after Judicial Confirmation, heaven help us all," said Jackie Holmgren.

NLSA Brand Chairman David Holmgren consulted with Dave Pooser a Vice President at Nevada State Bank, Reno, Nevada on the issue. Mr. Pooser said, "The problem is that any regulated entity has to rely upon law in an orderly society. It potentially gives the BLM or government agencies a superior lien that then would inhibit the banks ability to lend."

David and Jackie Holmgren, submitted affidavits to the court, for the NLSA and were representatives for the Association at the hearing. David Holmgren is Chairman of the NLSA Brand Committee and Jackie Holmgren is on the Executive Board. NLSA Chairman Helen Chenoweth-Hage, several directors, and other officers of the Association attended the hearing.

Gina Session, Deputy Attorney General was counsel for Director Don Henderson and head brand inspector Jim Connelley of the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Mr. Connelley is named in a grand jury investigation pending in Esmeralda County over the impoundment and sale of Goldfield, Nevada rancher Ben Colvin's cattle in 2001. Colvin is a NLSA director from Esmeralda County.

Brian Sandoval Attorney General for Nevada attended the hearing. BLM solicitors were in the audience and consulted with Gina Session several times during the hearing.

Chairman Helen Chenoweth-Hage commented that, "This is a keg of worms that needs resolving on the lawful presumption that due process must be afforded. Judge Berry said, 'Judges do not make law.' I whole-heartedly agree. The ex-Attorney Generals' staff doesn't either."

Session based her entire argument of the BLM being in legal possession upon case law that involved only public land. Van Zandt told the Judge Berry that, "These are not public lands."

A Mr. Lister, from Pioche, Nevada, also submitted a motion to dismiss at the hearing. He noted to Judge Berry that, "It is only Cowboy logic" that a court order is needed before private property can change ownership.

Judge Berry has asked all parties to submit post trial briefs and she will issue her Judicial Confirmation sometime in early spring 2004.

Contacts: Ramona Morrison (775) 424-0570
Jackie Holmgren (406) 321-1215

NCBA to Hold Satellite Town Hall Meeting on BSE Response


The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) will hold a Satellite Town Hall Meeting, Jan. 8 from 7-8 p.m. Mountain Time, to answer producer questions and discuss NCBA's response to the discovery of a single Canadian-born cow in the U.S. with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

NCBA Chief Executive Officer Terry Stokes, Vice President of Government Affairs Chandler Keys and Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs Gary Weber, PhD, will provide the latest information on the BSE case, discuss USDA regulatory issues and address efforts to resume U.S. beef exports. Additionally, the senior staff will discuss NCBA's BSE crisis response plan, which is implemented with NCBA member dues and with beef checkoff dollars on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils.

The 60-minute Satellite Town Hall Meeting will broadcast live on RFD-TV. Cattlemen from around the nation can call into a telephone number provided on-screen to ask questions of and provide input to the NCBA staff.

The live broadcast can be viewed on the RFD-TV agricultural channel available on:

DISH TV Channel 9409

DirecTV Channel 379 (Multi-Sat System Required)

MediaCom Cable Providers, Check Local Listings

NCTC Cable Providers, Check Local Listings

C-band coordinates, T5-20, 41 Mghz., Horizontal, 6.2-6.8 audio

A tape of the show will be rebroadcast three times on the RFD-TV channel at six hour intervals, following the initial broadcast. The program will also be broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 3 p.m. Mountain Time.

BSE has protectionist legislators, industry jumping on Buy U.S. bandwagon Recall Canadian livestock. Stop importing their beef products. Slap Born in the U.S.A. stickers on meat packages in grocery stores. A wave of protectionism hit the United States on Wednesday, a day after genetic tests confirmed that a Washington state cow that tested positive for mad cow disease had been born on an Alberta farm. U.S. Agriculture Department officials have been careful to call the continent's second mad cow case a North American problem. And even-handed stories about the cow's origin were played inside major American newspapers. But some took advantage of the news to promote long-held agendas that stress buying American and blaming Canada for the latest assault on the industry. Leo McDonnell, president of the Rancher and Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, said recalling all Canadian livestock and shutting down beef imports again would allow Americans to regain their $3.6-billion US export market by next week. "We're looking at some heavy losses," said McDonnell. "And it's not even a cow from the U.S. I mean, you know, (the disease) is not native to the United States." He was backed by Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, and other politicians from Midwest beef states. "Obviously we need to get as much information about the safety of products from Canada as we can," said Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat. "The only way we can do that effectively is to stop the product from coming into this country."...Calves Killed to Prevent Mad Cow Disease A winter storm Wednesday delayed federal officials' plans to bury 449 calves killed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease. State officials, meanwhile, said disposing of the carcasses at a landfill was safe. It may be "a day or two" before trucks are able to remove the carcasses, which officials had planned to bury at a regional landfill in southern Washington, said Robert Nelson, a state Agriculture Department spokesman. A worker at the landfill, about 60 miles south of Yakima, said it was closed Wednesday after receiving about a foot of snow...Leading Democratic Senator Calls For Immediate Country-of-Origin Meat Labeling The U.S. Senate's top Democrat is calling on the U.S. food industry to immediately begin labeling meat with its country-of-origin. South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle's comments come after the first case of mad cow disease in the United States was traced to Canada. Under a bill passed by the House of Representatives and awaiting Senate approval later this month, beef would be required to be labeled with its country of origin. The measure would apply to other perishable commodities, including fruits, vegetables, fish, lamb and pork, but not chicken. The House bill would delay the measure's implementation by two years. The chamber's Republican majority argued the labeling would be too costly for the meat industry...Japan says must move slowly on lifting US beef ban Japan consumer confidence could be eroded if a ban on U.S. beef, due to mad cow concerns, is lifted too soon, Japanese Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Wednesday. Following a meeting with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Nakagawa, whose remarks were translated into English, said moving too quickly "could result in loss of confidence" among Japanese consumers. He added that it is best to "move forward step by step" on eventually ending Tokyo's ban on American beef...U.S. Faces Pressure on Beef Safety While the Bush administration tries to thaw a freeze on beef exports because of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, consumer and farm groups said on Wednesday that Americans deserve to know the source of their lunchtime hamburgers and dinner steaks. They joined Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle in calling for an immediate federal order to put country-of-origin labels on meat. The labels are scheduled to be mandatory by Sept. 29 but House Republicans have sought to delay them because of the cost to the U.S. meat industry. Farm activists and consumer groups said food-origin labels were a speedier way to bolster food safety than a national animal identification system. The Bush administration opposes labeling and says it will speed up creation of the ID system. U.S. meat industry sources said another option being discussed would require U.S. slaughter plants to test only cattle over the age of 30 months for mad cow disease and only if the meat was intended for Japan...Opening the border is taking longer than thought at first Ontario Cattlemen's Association president Ron Wooddisse says it's unlikely the discovery of a BSE-infected cow in Washington state last month will delay the opening of the U.S. border to live Canadian cattle under 30 months old. "My projection is that the border will open up in two to four months," Wooddisse said in an interview with Voice of the Farmer. That prognostication hasn't changed since a second cow infected with BSE was discovered south of the border, he said, stressing that it was never realistic to believe the Americans would miraculously reopen the border as soon as the calendar turned over to 2004. "We all knew it would take longer," he said...Decision on beef ban will wait for fact-finding team Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday the government will not rush to decide whether to lift a ban on U.S. beef imports following confirmation that an American cow infected with mad cow disease was born in Alberta, Canada. "We have to look into the matter in detail before making a judgment (over the import ban). We will wait for a report from a fact-finding team, which leaves for the United States on Thursday," Fukuda said. Earlier Wednesday, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Wednesday it will dispatch a fact-finding team to the U.S. and Canada to gather information about the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S...Cattle prices rally Cattle prices jumped Wednesday after a report out of Japan hinted the top U.S. beef market may lift its import ban on U.S. beef if tests prove the meat does not have mad cow disease. CME live cattle for delivery in February closed up the daily trading limit of 1.50 cents a pound at 75.400 cents. The contract had closed at 90.675 cents on Dec. 23, before the mad cow discovery was announced. On Wednesday, the Nikkei news agency reported that Japan's agriculture ministry was reviewing a plan that could allow imports of U.S. beef if it was inspected by private firms. "That gives us a sliver of hope where Japan can possibly justify lifting the ban," said Jim Clarkson, livestock analyst with A & A Trading Inc in Chicago. The cattle market was also buoyed by confirmation on Tuesday that the infected cow in Washington state had been imported from Canada...FDA chief says America's beef supply is safe The Texas-raised head of the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that his agency's procedures worked as expected in handling the first case of mad cow disease in the United States. Dr. Mark McClellan, FDA commissioner, said all of the parts of the cow infected with the brain-wasting disease that the FDA regulates have been accounted for. The animal, born in western Canada in 1997, was slaughtered in Washington state last month. "Because we have these vigilant systems in place, that gives us a high degree of confidence in our beef supply," said McClellan, who was in San Antonio to speak to scientists gathered for the first meeting of the Texas Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine. FDA's oversight relevant to mad cow disease includes the use of cattle parts in animal feed and the rendering of non-edible tissue for use in drugs, cosmetics and other products...Ottawa rules out ban on use of slaughterhouse waste in cattle feed Federal officials have ruled out a ban on feeding slaughterhouse waste to cattle even though some government scientists say such a ban is the only way to be sure of stopping mad cow disease. Brian Evans, chief veterinarian for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said a ban would not be based on science and would be impossible to enforce. Britain and other European countries have maintained such a ban for years and it has been under study in Canada. But a panel of foreign experts advised against the idea, said Evans...Mad Cow, Iron Levels Knock Out Potential Blood Donors The American Red Cross is in dire need for blood donations, but there are some new restrictions that may impact whether you can give blood. The mad cow disease that raced through countries across the Atlantic has created new directives for potential donors here in the United States. According to the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac chapter of the American Red Cross, people cannot donate if, since January 1, 1980, you have: Spent a total time that adds up to 3 months in the United Kingdom. Spent a total time that adds up to 6 months or more in any country in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Turkey, or Oman. Received a blood transfusion in any of these regions...Florida Ranchers Relieved As Cattle Prices Hold Steady Wider BSE Testing May Woo Buyers The United States will have to institute wider-spread testing of cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy before key importers will open their borders to U.S. beef again, a key U.S. meat industry official said Tuesday. Richard Fritz, the vice president for trade development for the Denver- based U.S. Meat Export Federation, told DTN it is unclear how much testing the United States will have to do to satisfy trading partners, but that it will have to be on a larger scale than the 20,000 cows that were tested annually before the case of mad cow disease was discovered...Food: Beefing it up like the president After all, President Bush is still eating beef. On Jan. 2, though having been on a successful hunt for quail at Falfurrias, Texas, he declared, "As a matter of fact, I ate beef today, and will continue to eat beef." Scott McClellan, a White House spokesman, announced that despite the mad cow scare, the U.S. food supply was safe and public risk from the discovery of the disease was low. For this particular Brit, those positive proclamations rang too many apprehensive bells. In May 1990, the British minister of Agriculture in John Major's Conservative government appeared on television enthusiastically encouraging his 4-year-old daughter Cordelia to bite greedily into a hamburger. British beef, he claimed merrily, was "completely safe." Just five years later, in another May, the first recorded victim of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease died. Like most of the other 119 British victims as of December 2002, Stephen Churchill was pitifully young -- 19. In December 1995, the year of his death, Prime Minister John Major declaimed, "There is no scientific evidence that BSE can be transmitted to humans or that eating beef causes it in humans."...Japanese team in Brisbane for beef talks A Japanese Ministry of Agriculture delegation arrives in Brisbane today to talk to local producers about redirecting US-bound exports to Japan. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) spokesman Peter Barnard says the delegation will meet with officials from export companies Teys Brothers and Australian Meat Holdings before heading to Sydney for further talks. "The product beef that the United States was sending to Japan and Korea will now be marketed in the domestic market in the United States, so there's likely to be an easing of demand for Australian beef in the United States, while at the same time there's increase for Australian beef in Japan and Korea," Dr Barnard said. Dr Barnard says local companies will put forward a strong argument for expanding into the Japanese market...Secrecy of beef recalls blasted Federal regulators have more power to order and publicize the recall of a batch of canned corn or auto parts than they do a load of tainted beef or poultry -- a gap consumer groups call outrageous. USDA rules barred local officials from naming five Vietnamese restaurants in Alameda County suspected of serving beef bones from the Washington slaughterhouse where a single cow was found to have mad cow disease last month. Meanwhile, the final destination of 10,000 pounds of beef from the 19 other cows slaughtered with the diseased Holstein on Dec. 9 remains a secret under U.S. Department of Agriculture rules. By contrast, products with less than 2 percent meat, poul-try or pork face different recall guidelines, overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which include the publication of batch numbers, quantities and the tainted items' distribution network...Facts vs. Fears: Mad Cow Reality BRIT HUME, HOST: The Agriculture Department (search) said today that that cow, out in Washington State that was diagnosed with Mad Cow disease (search) last month, came from Canada. The department also said it will slaughter another 450 cattle from that quarantined herd in which the sick one was found. At least 37 countries have now banned the import of U.S. beef. But is any of this really necessary? For answers, we turn to David Ropeick, of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, who is co-author for "Risk, A Practical Guide For Deciding What`s Really Safe And Dangerous In The World Around Us." He joins us from our Boston Bureau. Welcome to you, sir...Researchers Seek to Clone 'Mad Cow Disease' Resistant Cattle Strain With about $300,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, scientists in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at Virginia Tech are trying to clone cattle that are genetically incapable of developing "Mad Cow Disease." As federal and state government officials grapple with strategies to limit the economic and health risks associated with the troublesome discovery of the nation's first case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) -- or Mad Cow Disease -- Drs. Will Eyestone and Bill Huckle are conducting important research with the little understood molecules believed to cause the deadly brain-wasting disease... Accurate BSE test of live animals is goal of Ohio research Ohio State University researcher Srinand Sreevatsan not only believes early detection is the best way to fight mad cow disease. He's also creating tools to make it possible. "There is a desperate need for a fast and reliable test for the diagnosis of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in live animals," said Sreevatsan, a scientist with the Food Animal Health Research Program (FAHRP) on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center's (OARDC) Wooster campus. "Early detection could lead to efficient surveillance systems that may avert or control this group of diseases."...Mad cow has state's ranchers wary of selling cattle About 1,200 animals were sold Monday at Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins. The operation that draws from Colorado, Wyoming and Utah normally runs through 8,000 to 9,000 cattle a day this time of year, auction owner Wayne Kruse said. "Some of the guys who sold were pretty nervous about this (mad cow) thing," Kruse said. "We had a lot of cattle consigned, but some converted to next Monday and some decided to wait until later in the year." The sale was one of the region's first after the holidays and after the announcement Dec. 23 of the country's first case of mad cow disease. At the Winter Livestock Auction in La Junta, general manager John Campbell said about 400 to 500 cattle would be sold Tuesday. The normal total at the southeastern Colorado auction ranges from 4,000 to 5,000. The Ranchland Livestock Auction in Wray on Colorado's eastern plains canceled a sale Jan. 2 because no cattle were offered for sale...Ottawa earmarks funds for anti-BSE measures The federal government is introducing increased surveillance and tracking to further reduce the risk of mad cow disease, Federal Agriculture Minister Bob Speller said Tuesday. Speller has obtained funding for a package of anti-BSE measures which are already underway. He did not give a dollar amount or specify how many animals would be tested. Brian Evans, chief veterinarian at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said the goal is to be able to detect a one-in-a-million case of mad cow... Tyson cuts beef production due to lower demand US meat processor Tyson Foods is reducing operating hours at its US beef plants due to lower demand for US beef following the discovery of a case of BSE, or mad cow disease. "We plan to keep the plants at reduced hours while we evaluate the effect of the discovery of mad-cow," Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Tyson, which operates 11 beef processing plants in the US and one in Canada, exported US$1.7bn worth of beef last year to countries including Japan and South Korea, reported AP...KGH removes beef from menu Beef isn't what's for dinner -- or lunch and breakfast -- at Kennewick General Hospital's Ivy Cafe. The menu posted for January offers plenty of chicken, pork, fish and turkey, but nothing that would come from a butchered steer, calf or cow. Even though the hospital's food supplier guarantees that its beef products have no connection to cattle stock affected by mad cow disease, the beefless menu is a courtesy for people who don't have a choice not to eat beef, said Christy Evanson, the hospital's director of food and nutrition...Meat packers to be scrutinized Federal officials will be keeping an eye on meat packers to make sure they don't use mad cow disease as an excuse to pay ranchers less for their cattle than what the animals are worth, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said Monday. Burns asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman last week to "scrutinize livestock transactions" to ensure ranchers get a fair price for their cattle. J. P. Donovan, a Burns spokesman, said Monday that Veneman has personally promised the senator that her agency would look into cattle transactions...Mad-cow rules could affect Hispanic meals Meat safety regulations aimed at reducing the risk of mad cow disease may have their biggest impact on some Hispanics, whose culinary favorites may include tacos filled with brain and small intestines, soup with spinal cord bits and, at holiday times, a cow's head. The rules, imposed after the Dec. 23 disclosure of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease, prohibit the sale of skull, brain, eyes, vertebral column and spinal cord from cattle older than 30 months...Beef pulled from school menus Fears that mad cow disease could spread to children have prompted some school officials to take beef off school lunch menus. The Jefferson County School District, the largest in Colorado, is taking a handful of beef and beef byproducts out of its school cafeterias until it can confirm they are safe to eat. A food contractor in Aspen has also stopped serving beef indefinitely to elementary and middle school students over fears of a mad-cow outbreak. "I know the government says beef is safe, but I don't believe the government has much credibility right now," said Anne Owsley, owner of The Lunchroom Co. in Aspen... In N.J., a link to mad cow? Although U.S. health officials say no one has gotten mad cow disease from American beef, a Cinnaminson woman says seven people died of a closely related disease after eating at the Garden State Race Track in Cherry Hill. The seven apparently died of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain-wasting malady, according to a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Janet Skarbek, an accountant, discovered the cases after an acquaintance died of the illness in 2000. She contacted the CDC. Now, it is asking her questions. The human version of mad cow disease is a very similar condition known as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The differences between the two can be definitively detected only by examining brain tissue in an autopsy. Health experts are skeptical of the contentions of Skarbek. If a link were established between the deaths and the victims' diets, it would be the first time beef has been linked to sporadic CJD, they say...U of I team working on food-tracing system University of Illinois scientists may develop technology used to trace cattle and hogs back to the farms on which they were raised. It's focused on creating, maintaining and tracing food products through the U.S. food distribution system. A team of researchers plans to develop technology to trace meat from a single cow or soybeans from an individual field all the way to the grocery shelf. Dahl's piece of the research project centers on a small, implanted device for livestock that's about the size of a single grain of sand. It draws power from radio waves that examine the device for data. About 25,000 of the implants suspended in a small bottle of water are barely visible. That means they're too small to be taken out and switched to another animal...Wash. cattlemen 'tickled' at prices after mad cow Fewer cattle made it to the auction block at the Toppenish Livestock Commission, but the prices they drew made cattlemen smile for the first time since word broke that mad cow disease had been detected in the state. Only about 100 cows were sold Monday, with the market high 61 cents a pound for an 1,850-pound cow. That was down only 2 cents from the 63-cents-a-pound high for slaughter cows in late December, said John Top, co-owner of the Yakima Valley-based auction...