Canada's Mad Cow Case Caused by Lax Feed Rules, Government Inspection Cutbacks and Bank Rules

The innocent Alberta cattle above aren't 'mad' but you should be.

This morning it's near impossible to find a corporate media outlet not echoing the Harpo government's 'don't worry, be happy' spin about Canada's new mad cow [BSE] case yesterday. No mention anywhere of the fact that Harpo has cut at least $56 million from the budget of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in the last 3 years. Or any about CFIA's response to those cuts which has has given more responsibility to the food industry to police its own safety practices.

Bob Jackson, executive vice-president (B.C.) of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and a former meat inspector, says that ongoing budget cuts to the federal agency are leaving people at risk of eating unsafe food. Adding, “A lot of this [inspections] is being turned over to the industry—and, unfortunately, we’ve seen the results of that. It’s downright dangerous when people are policing themselves.”

The only known way for the BSE agent, an abnormally shaped protein called a prion, to spread among cattle is through feed that contains ground meat, bone or blood meal from another animal [cows are vegetarians]. The original source of BSE is believed to have been feed containing tainted meat from sheep with scrapie.

The disease gets into the human food supply when an infected cow is slaughtered for meat. Yesterday's cow was a 'downer' from the far north of Alberta that was unable to walk from the transport truck to the slaughterhouse. An inspector concluded that the animal likely had pneumonia, and it was diverted out of the human food chain. The body was processed into feed for farm animals other than cattle and sheep, and the head was sent to the provincial capital for testing. [What about the other cows on that ranch, or across Canada, that haven't fallen over...yet?]

In Canada it has been illegal to feed cow or sheep protein to other cows and sheep since 1997. How re-assuring is that when it's perfectly legal in Canada to grind up sick animals [who might have BSE] and feed them to chickens, pigs, goats or ?. Then grind up the unprofitable parts of those animals and feed that crap to the cows and sheep...what could go wrong with that scheme?

Many ranchers throughout N. America supplement the protein in their animal feed with parts from other animals because it's part of the 'best practices' demanded by the banks in order to get the loans the ranchers need to keep their deby ridden operations going. It's hard to blame a rancher who teeters on the brink of financial disaster, who is assured by regulators and lenders that it's safe and who trusts the government to be more interested in safety than balanced budgets, choosing to go with the flow over potential bankruptcy.

Canad's lax regulations and cuts by the government as well as misleading Canadians about the changes it’s making to Canada’s food safety measures show it's actually bowing to industry pressure in its cuts to CFIA's budget said the union that represents food inspectors.

Notable political economist Mark Blyth, commenting today on Canada's austerity bullshit says: 'It's beyond stupid." Why all these stupid cuts? Because Harpo wants to claim a balanced budget by cutting services to Canadians, services that, among other things, we expect will keep the food we and our kids eat safe. The reality is Harpo's policies have one objective - a return to power at any cost...any cost to everyone except the Bankers and Billionaires Club members that is.

Like all his neo-liberal ilk, Harpo refuses to raise taxes on his rich benefactors and their corporations choosing instead to sacrifice the health and safety of our food supply, our water supply and the land itself.

Harpo is VERY dangerous, he must be stopped.