They'll even sell-out Free Market Economics to make a buck

So, the Agriculture Department in the US tests only about 1% of cattle for Mad Cow Disease. Which is partially effective in discerning which farms need to be quarantined and when and preventing tainted meat from going to market. Still, there is a chance that any meat you eat could still give you spongiform encephalopathy which quite literally TURNS YOUR BRAIN INTO A SPONGE!

Please read about this delightful disease as described in Wikipedia:

"The first symptom of CJD is rapidly progressive dementia, leading to memory loss, personality changes and hallucinations. This is accompanied by physical problems such as speech impairment, jerky movements, balance and coordination dysfunction, changes in gait, rigid posture, and seizures. The duration of the disease varies greatly, but sporadic (non-inherited) CJD can be fatal within months or even weeks (Johnson, 1998).

When brain tissue from a CJD patient is examined under a microscope, many tiny holes can be seen where whole areas of nerve cells have died. The word 'spongiform' in 'transmissible spongiform encephalopathies' refers to the 'spongy' appearance of the brain tissue."

I can see why there might be a demand for meat that was guaranteed not to turn your brain into a sponge. Several small beef-producers in the US saw this demand and decided to test ALL of their cattle. They would of course charge a premium, but that's how the free market works. In the end, the people are able to get what they want, if they can afford it, and Republicans are happy.


Wrong. The Agriculture Department has BANNED widespread testing! Even if it is at the company's expense!!! Why? Pressure from large cattle farms who worry that there will be decreased demand for their beef, thus forcing them to perform the expensive test as well. And THAT would cut into their margins.

I wish to God that I was making this up. But the article is right here in the International Herald Tribune.

The Republican party has finally given up on principles of any kind. The "invisible hand of the market" is their favourite argument for defending their heinousness; it's a sort of sleight of hand that supposedly explains why they can't limit greenhouse gases or provide health care; it's why bank-fees shouldn't be regulated, why land mine companies shouldn't be shut down and why minimum wage should stay as low as possible. However, in this one instance, the Agriculture Department had to step in and protect us from the Free Market, which was threatening to provide us with SAFE MEAT for a small premium.

In fairness, I found a different article which suggests that "While, Creekstone claims full testing will assure its customers of the safety of its products, the USDA contends that this gives a false sense of security because BSE is generally undetectable in younger cattle."

However, Creekstone will be using EXACTLY THE SAME TEST that the FDA uses, so it must work pretty well.

A court ruled that this testing MUST be allowed, and now the Agriculture Department IS APPEALING! Because there's nothing Republicans hate more than people not getting spongiform encephalophathy. People with sponge-brains make up 80% of their electorate.


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