Posts Categorized: ideas + opinions

The “Downed Cattle” Debate : Don’t Slaughter them

http://www.latimes.com/la-na-downer26dec26,1,3831764.story

The discovery of “mad cow” disease in a Washington state Holstein � confirmed Thursday by British veterinary pathologists � has focused new attention on whether animals too disabled to walk to slaughter should be banned from the American food supply.
The animal that was tested had been flagged in the first place because it had been partially paralyzed, apparently after complications in delivering a calf, said W. Ron DeHaven, the Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian. The cow came from a dairy farm, where its career as a milk producer was over.
Animal welfare groups argue that such nonambulatory, or so-called downer, cows are more likely to carry or succumb to infectious diseases. They are calling on Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman to bar them from meat-processing plants.
The California Cattleman’s Assn., taking a position unpopular in the industry, said in November that the group supported prohibiting the slaughter of disabled cattle and encouraged the Department of Agriculture to expand its testing.

Animal rights groups estimate that of the 35 million to 40 million cattle slaughtered each year in the U.S., 130,000 to 190,000 are sent to meatpackers because they’ve been disabled. The organizations originally began lobbying against using downers for meat because they were concerned about the cruelty of dragging the animals in chains or carrying them on forklifts to be killed. But activists say they quickly began to worry about food safety as well.
California and several other states already ban the use of downers in some slaughterhouses. The Department of Agriculture decided three years ago to stop buying downer meat for the school lunch program because of concern about bacterial infections.
But efforts to enact a comprehensive national measure have been derailed in Congress by a few representatives, mostly from cattle states such as Texas.
In fact, on the same day that the diseased Holstein was killed, a Senate-House conference committee tossed out language in the agriculture appropriations bill that would have prevented the use of downer cows for food.
December 26, 2003
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THE NATION
Disease Heightens Beef Debate
A ‘mad cow’ find puts new emphasis on a call to ban the use of meat from disabled cattle.
Times Headlines
more >
WASHINGTON STATE
DISEASES MAD COW DISEASE LIVESTOCK CATTLE FOOD BEE
DISEASES
THE NATION
UNITED STATES
FOOD
LIVESTOCK
MAD COW DISEASE
BEEF
CATTLE
By Judy Pasternak, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON � The discovery of “mad cow” disease in a Washington state Holstein � confirmed Thursday by British veterinary pathologists � has focused new attention on whether animals too disabled to walk to slaughter should be banned from the American food supply.
The animal that was tested had been flagged in the first place because it had been partially paralyzed, apparently after complications in delivering a calf, said W. Ron DeHaven, the Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian. The cow came from a dairy farm, where its career as a milk producer was over.
Animal welfare groups argue that such nonambulatory, or so-called downer, cows are more likely to carry or succumb to infectious diseases. They are calling on Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman to bar them from meat-processing plants.
The California Cattleman’s Assn., taking a position unpopular in the industry, said in November that the group supported prohibiting the slaughter of disabled cattle and encouraged the Department of Agriculture to expand its testing.
“Anything’s on the table at this point,” DeHaven said Thursday. Changing the way downers are handled, he added, is among “a number of things we might or might not do.”
The Department of Agriculture noted this year that data from Europe, where “mad cow” disease previously emerged, indicate that downer cattle “have a greater incidence of BSE,” or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the scientific name for “mad cow” disease.
The first known U.S. case of the disease was announced Tuesday, based on Department of Agriculture tests in Ames, Iowa. Samples were sent to a laboratory in England. Scientists there agreed Thursday with the U.S. analysis of its Iowa test and said they planned to conduct further tests soon.
Agriculture officials have stressed that they consider the health risk to consumers to be extremely low. The slaughterhouse that processed the diseased cow, Verns Moses Lake Meats of Moses Lake, Wash., voluntarily recalled 10,410 pounds of meat, all that was handled on the day the animal was killed.
A case of “mad cow” disease surfaced in Canada in May. That animal also was unable to walk on its own. At that point, Consumers Union urged Veneman to “at a minimum” test all downed animals for the infectious disease, which can lead to a different fatal illness in humans.
Animal rights groups estimate that of the 35 million to 40 million cattle slaughtered each year in the U.S., 130,000 to 190,000 are sent to meatpackers because they’ve been disabled. The organizations originally began lobbying against using downers for meat because they were concerned about the cruelty of dragging the animals in chains or carrying them on forklifts to be killed. But activists say they quickly began to worry about food safety as well.
California and several other states already ban the use of downers in some slaughterhouses. The Department of Agriculture decided three years ago to stop buying downer meat for the school lunch program because of concern about bacterial infections.
But efforts to enact a comprehensive national measure have been derailed in Congress by a few representatives, mostly from cattle states such as Texas.
In fact, on the same day that the diseased Holstein was killed, a Senate-House conference committee tossed out language in the agriculture appropriations bill that would have prevented the use of downer cows for food.
The Senate had passed the provision. The House had defeated it on a 202-199 vote.
“If we allow downed animals to be slaughtered, we are playing Russian roulette with the American food supply,” said Wayne Pacelle, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States.

Food inspectors can distinguish between animals that can’t walk because of disease and animals that can’t walk because of injury, Engeljohn wrote, adding that barring all downed animals’ meat “would have a serious economic impact.”
“If you ban all downer cows from the food chain, now what are you going to do with them?” asked Jim Cullor, a UC Davis professor of veterinary medicine. “Are you going to put them in pet food? Bury them all in a toxic waste dump? You can’t burn it because there are air-quality rules.”
A ban is “completely fair to talk about,” Cullor said. “But offer some solutions too.”

Merry Christmas, In Your Name, and Other Notes From Christmas Eve…

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year. I know that I am ready to toss 2003 out the window. I have asked God for a blessing in 2004. Specifically, a delightful and delicious man… ;oD
And to all who are not celebrators of Christmas… Happy Hannukah! Happy Solistice! Happy Festivus! Happy Kawanza! And all other applicable December Hols….
While many bloggers strive to write a post everyday, some days I have a post every day or even multiple posts, but other days I am blocked for blog posts. I write in clumps. Usually, my inspriration comes to me when I am driving on the freeway. Unfortunately, Sugar Plum, the 1993 Honda Civic, does not come with an on board Wi-Fi computer that I can blog from. Maybe I need to get a Treo 600 now that my Palm III is slowly dying a sure death, then I can blog from the road, rather than come home hours later and not remember a thing. Anyone got an extra $499?

  1. I would like to recommend Real Live Preacher’sThe Christmas Story” as a refreshing telling of the original Christmas story.
  2. Good News:
    The native endangered Steelhead Trout are making in roads into South Orange County for the first time in forty some odd years… Wahoo! You don’t have to have fake tits, be fake blonde and drive an SUV to live in south OC, one can be a salt water/fresh water fish, live in a stream beleagured by mankind and still make a go of it on no dollars a day… Now only if the trout will re-conquer the lower Santa Ana River.
    Check out Trout Unlimited California on how you can help to re-establish our water ways and native trout.
    The San Mateo Creek, Orange County restoration project.
  3. An activism group I can get behind: Cats Indoors!
    The LA Times reported on Tuesday in an article entitled, “Killer Among Us,” what many wild bird fans have known for years and what most cat owners don’t know – outdoor domestic cats are killing a least one quarter to one half of all wild birds, causing whole species to struggle. Indoor cats live quite a bit longer than outdoor cats. And you will improve your relations with your neighbors who have to shovel cat shit (I clear at least 7 cat shit piles a week from my garden)…
    Be nice to your kitty, your neighbors, and the local birds by bringing your kitty inside. From the LA Times article:

    There’s a killer on the loose, stalking victims out of public sight and mind. Operating under the guise of the garden-variety house cat, this predator is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of birds every year. So many birds are being killed by cats and collisions with urban America that fully a quarter of the winged species are in decline, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…
    But house cats are the slaughter machines. One study concluded that free-ranging cats kill at least 7.8 million birds each year in rural Wisconsin alone. And that excludes urban areas. Another study in Michigan concluded that a single pet cat killed at least 60 birds in an 18-month period.

  4. The Parker 425 is the same weekend as 6th Annual DIY Bowling Tournament. Crap. While I love my brother and would like to support his off-road racing adventures, I can’t be in Lost Wages and Parker, AZ at the same time. Given that I have already paid for bowling, the hotel, have a deposit on my dress, and I have much flirting to do with cute punk rock men, I will be in Lost Wages from Feb. 6-9, 2004.
  5. The new (Oct. 2003) Anti-Flag CD, “The Terror State“, kicks serious boot-ay. It is the band’s most musically diverse and listenable effort to date, as well as packing a leftist lyrical punch. It is their best CD since “Die for the Government.” Forget Justin Timberlake, OutKast, or Blink-182 for your holiday gift giving to your 13 year old cousin, get them Anti-Flag – political punk rock at its 2003 best.
  6. Is it just me or is any one else bugged by getting holiday greeting cards with little inserts that say “We have made a generous donation to the _________ (insert name of popular charity here) in your name in lieu of a present for this holiday…” ???
    If someone would rather send money to a charity rather than buy another silly gift for their friends or family – lovely, just don’t announce it to me. Self-aggrandisement anyone? What happened to quiet, thoughtful, your right hand doesn’t know what your left hand is up to charity giving? Just give, send me a card, don’t tell me about it.

  7. Contribute with your eyes and typing fingers: The Audubon Christmas Bird Count

May you have much laughter, love, and joy in the next week.

More on Interviewing and Radio

After I made my post about my three favorite radio interviewers, I found myself discussing the topic with several friends who had read the post. I realized that I had not fully expressed what I liked so much about Terry Gross, Tavis Smiley, and Kitty Felde.
Here it is: They ask hard questions. They don’t back down when the going gets tough. They are not afraid to ask hard questions even when the question would be against their own stated view point.
Now that is good interviewing. Many radio hosts are agressive but not effective or they are pleasing but passive, whereas Terry Gross, Tavis Smiley, and Kitty Felde give the journalism profession a good name.
On a different radio subject, I must also give props to KLOS’s night time DJ Jim Ladd, as he is the only free-form FM DJ left in the Southern California market. Jim is not afraid to play Janis Joplin, next to U2, next to an old 1940s gospel recording, next to Social Distortion. He breaks all the rules of the current blander than Wonderbread corporate conglomerate computer generated music radio that is on every channel. May KLOS’s corporate overlords not realize that Jim is actually a live human being spinning records and CDs and interacting with his audience five nights a week…

Interviewing Skills

I have been doing the occasional band interview for various rock magazines since 1997. Some interviews are very easy, usually when the musician is bright, has an active thought and creative life. Some interviews are painful, usually when the non-creative, drugged out member of the band is pawned off on the press. And a few are just plain dull.
In an effort to have more easy, sparkling interviews and sharpen my own skills in interviewing even the most dull or recalcitrant person, I like to listen to the interviewing skills of radio hosts. How do they ask the questions? What questions do they ask to illicit a good response? How do they control a babbler? How do they get a civilized answer out of an asshole?
After actively listening for sometime now, I have decided that Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, Talk of the City’s Kitty Felde, and NPR’s Tavis Smiley are my favorite interviewers. All three have great skill and dexerity in their craft and are a pure pleasure to listen to.

Giving Thanks V

Fri. Nov. 28, 2003:
1) My National Audubon Society 2003 desk calendar. Today is a very cute Black-Capped Chickadee. We don’t have this Chickadee in California, but we do have the Mountain Chickadee. I love my daily bird fix.
2) Thanks for great live and great recorded music:
Manic Hispanic, Roger Wallace, The Clash, Marti Brom, Dropkick Murphys, Real McKenzies, Flogging Molly, Black Eyed Peas, Daniel Lanois, The Distraction, One Man Army, Throwrag, Fabulous Disaster, Dance Hall Crashers, Avail, Kings of Nuthin’ and many, many, many more!
3) Thanks to and for all the Barflies.net contributor crew – past and present – Alex W., Julie Wanda, Yvonne, Lucky, Scarlett, Steve, Kevin, Megan, Erika, Tanya, The Ash, Meredith, Erik, Tink, Dawn, Al, Brian, Sandra, April, Cindy, Bridget, Lauren, Liz, etc… I am thankful for all of our friendships and your creative contributions. You have made me a better person and sharpened my own creative output. How can one little editor & artist be so blessed?

Giving Thanks IV Or Giving Thanks on the Big Day

1) I am thankful for the Hanen Family bonding time whilst stuck in traffic between Mission Viejo and Oceanside. What should have taken 25 mins. took 2 hours and 5 mins. Yikes. But the Hanen Family is resourceful. Joe had a scratched up plastic wine glass under his seat, I had a chilled bottle of Chandon (Napa – Blancs de Noir) in a grocery sack next to my feet. Joe, Campbell (a.k.a. – Dad), and I drank champagne while driving past San Onofre Nuclear Plant and Camp Pendleton at 5 miles per hour. We laughed, we people watched, we waved at Marines on duty, and I spilled champagne. Big thanks to the Moet & Chandon company for being there during important stressful moments like in Agra, India on Feb. 2, 1943 when my airman Grandfather was able to procure a bottle of Moet to celebrate the telegrammed announcement of his first son’s (Campbell) birth in Iowa or on the 5 fwy. with 105,000 other cars going from Orange County to one’s Grandma’s in San Diego on Nov. 27, 2003…..

(more…)

Giving Thanks III

Wed. 11/26/03:
1) My dad, Campbell W. Hanen, has had some form of a cell phone (car phone) attached to his ear since the late 1970s. He is the text book version of an Early Adopter. Today, we were supposed to go to the Harbor House for brunch, but when I picked him up at my brother’s house, my dad was chatting on his cell phone, so I was not able to ask him if he was willing to go to Dim Sum instead of western breakfast. Rather than driving to Sunset Beach, I drove us to Little Saigon in Westminister. It was not until the Taro Cakes, 25 mins. later, were placed on the table that he got off the call and asked me what were we doing here…. I am thankful, for the very first time in 25 years, for my dad’s phone distraction that we could go to Dim Sum rather than omlettes… ;oD
2) I am thankful for Interscope Records and Terry Wang, U2’s Tour Publicist, the best damned PR chickeeta that Brea (SoCal) and Taiwan has ever produced (Terry, you rock!). They sent me the U2 “U2 Go Home – Live from Slane Castle, Ireland” DVD this week. I just watched it. It is very good. It re-reminded me why U2 is the Rolling Stones Plus of my generation without the drugs and scary outfits…. U2 has delivered quality “redemptive” Rock’n’Roll for over 24 years. Thank you, U2!
3) Time off. Four days with no agenda. Thank God.
4) My brother Joe Hanen. Good Man. Gracious. Generous. Thank you.

Give Thanks II

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003:
Today I am thankful for…
1) The weekly bowling gang: Julie Wanda, Tink, Hector, Karl, Lucky, Kevin, and April. Thanks for making me laugh and having fun.
2) The comeback of the endangered Catalina Island Fox. Today the LA Times reported:

A rare fox no bigger than a housecat may be saved from extinction on Santa Catalina Island, thanks to scientists fighting for its survival with traps, cages and a cutting-edge vaccine.
In an age when so many endangered-species dramas star lobbyists and lawyers, this little-noticed campaign 26 miles off the Los Angeles coast may actually be a success story