Expert warned US re: mad cow

This is the kind of article that just makes one so angry at our government, especially the part about the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who tried to warn the Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman. I’ll bet she had listened to him sooner, now that this sh!tstorm has hit her in the face.
The problem with meat in the US is that this industry has always gotten a free ride from the government from the earliest days of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” The meat industy is one of the most protected industries in the US and therefore decades of non-management and willful ignorance means that they will now pay dearly with global bans of US beef for export, not to mention the fears within the US that will naturally grow.
BSE is scary stuff, and the US cattle industry is a long, long way away from being able to control/manage/deal with BSE, not to mention a whole host of other diseases that are barely suppressed with hormones and antibiotics.
Capitalism is a powerful force, but within some industries, it can tend to create forces that end up hurting the marketplace in it’s relentless effort to cut costs.
Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent

4 Comments on “Expert warned US re: mad cow

  1. While it is possible that somebody predicted that Mad Cow disease was coming to the U.S. based on some set of factors that described the U.S. meat industry, keep the following facts in mind. Our society is so complex, that it is likely that you can find one person or more, in an official capacity, who has predicted every disaster that is possibly conceivable.
    Now, meat regulation is obviously an area where those predictions have more meaning than in certain other areas, and obviously there’s just no excuse for allowing tainted food to be produced just on a cost basis – but the fact is that there is a chicken little for just about everything.
    In other words, dredging up somebody’s prediction that something was going to happen, in my view, isn’t overly meaningful in and of itself. I haven’t read the article yet, though, so who knows?

  2. Your comment regarding the marketplace are incomplete. Economic forcasting is always inefficient and frequently inaccurate. Controlled market solutions have not been satisfactory.
    The Market will control this and other adverse events.

  3. My issue is with “The Market” and how it ends up controlling us, not allowing our own volition to affect the outcome of events. We often end up reacting to the “The Market” instead of pre-empting it.
    In this example, there was little-to-no incentive for the US Dept. of Agriculture to try to inspect meat for BSE when there has never been a significant inspection regime in the US.
    My point is that it is not only a shame, but it may end up costing more resources to react to the market than to pre-empt it. Will it be more costly to have ignored the warnings of some scientists or would it have been less costly if we had made the appropriate inspections a part of the meat industry from the beginning?
    Is capitalism the best force to drive our food supply forward? If not, do we even have a choice anymore?

  4. A little foolishness, enough to enjoy life and a little wisdom to avoid the errors, that will do