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What is a Downer Calf?

Opinion

What is a downer calf?

I will try and answer that question, and, in so doing, hope to better inform the 72 members of Congress who signed a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging him to prohibit the “slaughtering of non-ambulatory disabled calves (known as ‘downers’).”

I will explain in a bit why I think this request makes little or no sense from a strictly food safety standpoint, but first the answer to my question using USDA terminology.

A downer, almost always livestock, cannot stand on its own and is killed and then incinerated, buried or sent to rendering, depending on the country’s rules.

A downer has never passed ante-mortem inspection, meaning inspection at rest and in motion.

However, livestock that has passed inspection during ambulation, usually in the holding pens at a slaughter establishment or during the unloading process, and then goes down and won’t get back up is termed “non-ambulatory, disabled.”

The causes of becoming “non-ambulatory, disabled” include broken legs, ruptured tendons and plain old fatigue. Tired critters rest, get hydrated and recover from the fatigue and become ambulatory again. To ban the slaughter of these animals would be a horrible waste of life.

People still refer to fatigued pigs as downers, and that is wrong. They tire during loading, transport and unloading. They pass initial ante-mortem inspection, but then lie down and don’t get right back up. Given time, along with water and shade, they recover.

Veal calves are similar, especially in the winter months, when they are even more stressed. These very young animals have been pampered and protected. Most have not been on the range, as that increases connective tissue, which detracts from the desired end product.

Many are still confined to shacks and hutches – practices being phased out, but still present. They do not ambulate very much, and their muscular development is very lacking. Thus, loading, transporting and unloading leads to fatigue, but they are NOT downer calves.

For background, a bob veal calf is slaughtered at an age of less than one month, many times less than one week. These guys still have the wobbly legs of a newborn calf.

White veal are fed only milk or milk products and are slaughtered somewhere between 18-20 weeks, while red veal have been supplemented with solid food like hay and grain and are slaughtered between 22-26 weeks.

Only the red veal calves are called calves or calf meat in stores and restaurants. All the rest are call veal.

So Congress, is it just the calves you are fussing over, or are you including bob veal and veal calves?

For those who may not know, most veal calves are male dairy calves, although either sex could do.

A beef calf that is male is usually castrated and eventually sold for steaks, roasts and burgers.

We don’t need a whole lot of dairy bulls, and the meat is not as desirable for steaks and roasts, so they become veal calves with that shortened lifespan.

The “downer rule” that went into effect after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in the U.S. in December 2003 was just one part of the multi-pronged effort to protect humans from eating meat containing the prion that causes BSE in cattle and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans.

The other components to protect us from this always-fatal disease are the long-standing ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, the limits of border crossings of live beef and processed beef from certain higher-risk countries, and the testing of the herd for presence and the removal of Specified Risk Materials that might contain the prions at slaughter facilities under the daily, continuous inspection by USDA.

Since the first cow in the U.S. with BSE (a Canadian-born cow, by the way), we have found only three more cows with BSE. We slaughter tens of millions per year. We really don’t have to worry about vCJD in this country. Plus, vCJD has never been linked to the consumption of U.S. beef, and BSE has never been found in cattle less than 30 months of age.

The risk of contracting vCJD from veal calves is zero.

The downer rule was written to keep cattle out of slaughter facilities that might have BSE, non-ambulatory status being a symptom of that disease.

In their letter to Secretary Vilsack, the signers call for FSIS to amend its regulations so that “all non-ambulatory disabled calves be immediately and humanely euthanized, just as FSIS regulations currently require for adult non-ambulatory cattle.”

Different animals and very different public health risks.

So why would Congress now call for a ban on the slaughter of animals not even half-a-year old? Certainly not for BSE or vCJD as the original rule was written for.

Their calling for the ban makes them look like spokespersons for Wayne Pacelle and HSUS. And he is applauding them.

They claim that the ban would improve humane handling. We have laws and a USDA inspection system that are supposed to guarantee humane handling. Support the laws and USDA, but do not destroy perfectly healthy animals as a lever of enforcement.

The next-to-last sentence of the letter confuses me even more as to the intentions of the 72. It reads: “As long as downed cattle are allowed to be slaughtered for food, companies will have an incentive to pressure workers to engage in rough handling … .”

I counter that as long as we have the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and USDA, companies have an incentive to avoid rough handling.

They have seriously mixed their adjectives between downer cattle, downed cattle and non-ambulatory disabled. I am not even sure what they mean or are asking for. Downer cattle are not slaughtered ever, but non-ambulatory, disabled veal calves may be under certain conditions.

If a plant is seen mishandling animals, USDA’s inspection team can shut it down in a heartbeat – and they do so dozens of times every year.

This is not a debate about the ethics of eating veal calves, nor the housing conditions, etc. This is an issue of taking perfectly safe meat out of the market, driving up the cost of beef, and forcing more people to find alternative protein sources.

© Food Safety News
  • John Munsell

    Doc, in your concluding sentence above you state that is an issue of taking PERFECTLY SAFE (emphasis added) meat out of the market. I gotta confess, I did this many times……………because of FSIS policies. Let me explain. Lots of perfectly healthy animals break bones, especially large meaty bulls during the breeding season; some can subsequently walk, some cannot and become downers. Many times I had ranchers call me, asking if I could slaughter and process such downer animals for their own consumption or for sale to me. Prior to the BSE scare, I provided such services all the time. On the kill floor, we oftentimes removed an entire leg because of bone splinters, bruises and blood clots. But the entire remainder of the animal was perfectly normal. When we subsequently boned out the carcasses, our boners used a heightened surveillance to detect and remove physical defects. The larger animals would provide over 500 lbs of perfectly normal, non-diseased meat. We took other precautions as well, taking the temperature of such animals before slaugther to ensure they weren’t infected. Indeed, the symptom of being non-ambulatory MIGHT indicate BSE. But realizing we’ve had only 3 BSE-positive animals while millions (probably) of non-ambulatory animals have existed over the decades, FSIS has unilaterally chosen to remove millions of lbs of nutritious meat from home freezers. Yea, I know, FSIS claims it utilizes an “Abundance of Caution” to prevent mad cow meat to infect consumers. Why doesn’t the agency likewise utilize a similar abundance of caution to trace contaminated meat back to the source? Another issue totally, but my point is that if the agency piously proclaims an “Abundance of Caution” on some issues, it must likewise implement the alleged abundance of caution throughout its portfolio of responsibilities. Example: how in the dickens could FSIS have allowed conditions to exist at Rancho Feeding for over a full year before “suggesting” that Rancho Feeding recall all its production for over a year’s worth of business? FSIS has chosen to not release any details, allegedly for “legal” reasons. Nevertheless, if the agency would consistently utilize its ostensible abundance of caution exemplified by the downer ban throughout all the agency’s responsibilities, we wouldn’t have the number of outbreaks and recalls besetting us. The agency picks and chooses which items are the most politically correct (such as humane handling), and maximizes its PR image by focusing on that handful of front burner issues. John Munsell

    • tallen2007

      Excellent points! Only comment I have pertains to the trustworthiness and integrity of the slaughter plant employees and management. Many plants (think custom processing) can operate for decade after decade with no food safety or public health issues. I take my livestock and poultry to them. They care, it shows and I trust them. Other plants, including USDA inspected operations, (not mentioning names) I would not trust because of the attitude of the management. Money over safety, lack of knowledge about sanitation and food safety and lack of caring by underpaid employees. Did I mention money? Just because there has never been a recall (yet) doesn’t mean people haven’t gotten ill. Of course you’ll be hard pressed to prove it because the contamination MUST have happened after the product left the plant….

  • http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/ Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

    say there Doc Raymond,

    Dr. Raymond Sir, you are wrong on so many accounts, I don’t know if this site will allow me to correct all of them with the scientific facts. I will try…

    Dr. Raymond states ;

    > BSE has never been found in cattle less than 30 months of age.

    this is completely false, and you have to know this Sir.
    please see facts, there have been many cases of documented BSE in cattle much younger than 30 months, so why do you make such a false statement ?

    please see scientific fact ;

    the youngest cow to develop BSE on record in Britain was 20 months old,
    showing some are fast incubators. Models predict that 200-300 cattle under 30
    months per year are infected with BSE and enter the food chain currently in
    Britain. Of these 3-5 could be fast incubators and carrying detectable
    quantities of prion.

    http://www.sare.org/sanet-mg/archives/html-home/28-html/0359.html

    YOUNGEST AND OLDEST CASES BY YEAR OF ONSET (FOR PASSIVE SURVEILLANCE
    CASES)

    AND BY YEAR OF SLAUGHTER (FOR ACTIVE SURVEILLANCE CASES) – GREAT BRITAIN
    ONLY.

    NB The last case in an animal aged 30 months or less was in 1996

    Year of onset Age (mths) youngest case (n) Age (mths) 2nd youngest case (n)
    Age (yrs.mths) 2nd oldest case (n) Age (yrs.mths) oldest case (n)

    1986 30 33 5.03 5.07

    1987 30 31 9.09 10

    1988 24 27 10.02 11.01(2)

    1989 21 24(4) 12(2) 15.04

    1990 24(2) 26 13.03 14

    1991 24 26(3) 14.02 17.05

    1992 20 26 15.02 16.02

    1993 29 30(3) 14.1 18.1

    1994 30(2) 31(2) 14.05 16.07

    1995 24 32 14.09 15.04

    1996 29 30 15.07 17.02

    1997 37(7) 38(3) 14.09 15.01

    1998 34 36 14.07 15.05

    1999 39(2) 41 13.07 13.1

    2000 40 42 17.08 19.09

    2001 45 48 16.01 20.08

    2002 47 48(2) 18.04 22.07

    2003 46 49 18.07(2) 20.06

    2004 49 52 17.04 22.07

    2005 36 38 18.01 19.04

    2006 48 58 17.05 19.09

    2007 62 66(2) 17.03 19

    2008 65 69 19.04 20.07

    2009 72 86 16.08 18.03

    2010 64 72 16.05 17

    2011 135 143 12.07 17.11

    2012 75 N/A N/A 20.9

    2013 77 138 11.06 12.10

    Data valid to 31 January 2014

    see full text ;

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/ahvla-en/files/pub-tse-stats-age.pdf

    http://bseyoungestage.blogspot.com/

    Dr. Raymond states ;

    The other components to protect us from this always-fatal disease are the
    long-standing ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, the limits of border crossings of
    live beef and processed beef from certain higher-risk countries, and the testing
    of the herd for presence and the removal of Specified Risk Materials that might
    contain the prions at slaughter facilities under the daily, continuous
    inspection by USDA.

    Dr. Raymond fails to state the facts again, the fact that all the above
    failed terribly ;

    FDA PART 589 — SUBSTANCES PROHIBITED FROM USE IN ANIMAL FOOD OR FEED
    VIOLATIONS OFFICIAL ACTION INDICATED OIA UPDATE DECEMBER 2013 UPDATE

    OAI 2012-2013

    OAI (Official Action Indicated) when inspectors find significant
    objectionable conditions or practices and believe that regulatory sanctions are
    warranted to address the establishment’s lack of compliance with the regulation.
    An example of an OAI classification would be findings of manufacturing
    procedures insufficient to ensure that ruminant feed is not contaminated with
    prohibited material. Inspectors will promptly re-inspect facilities classified
    OAI after regulatory sanctions have been applied to determine whether the
    corrective actions are adequate to address the objectionable conditions.

    ATL-DO 1035703 Newberry Feed & Farm Ctr, Inc. 2431 Vincent St. Newberry
    SC 29108-0714 OPR DR, FL, FR, TH HP 9/9/2013 OAI Y

    DET-DO 1824979 Hubbard Feeds, Inc. 135 Main, P.O. Box 156 Shipshewana IN
    46565-0156 OPR DR, FL, OF DP 8/29/2013 OAI Y

    ATL-DO 3001460882 Talley Farms Feed Mill Inc 6309 Talley Rd Stanfield NC
    28163-7617 OPR FL, TH NP 7/17/2013 OAI N

    NYK-DO 3010260624 Sherry Sammons 612 Stoner Trail Rd Fonda NY 12068-5007
    OPR FR, OF NP 7/16/2013 OAI Y

    DEN-DO 3008575486 Rocky Ford Pet Foods 21693 Highway 50 East Rocky Ford CO
    81067 OPR RE, TH HP 2/27/2013 OAI N

    CHI-DO 3007091297 Rancho Cantera 2866 N Sunnyside Rd Kent IL 61044-9605 OPR
    FR, OF HP 11/26/2012 OAI Y

    *** DEN-DO 1713202 Weld County Bi Products, Inc. 1138 N 11th Ave Greeley CO
    80631-9501 OPR RE, TH HP 10/12/2012 OAI N

    Ruminant Feed Inspections Firms Inventory (excel format)

    http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/GuidanceComplianceEnforcement/ComplianceEnforcement/BovineSpongiformEncephalopathy/ucm114507.htm

    PLEASE NOTE, the VAI violations were so numerous, and unorganized in dates
    posted, as in numerical order, you will have to sift through them for yourselves. …tss

    snip…see full text ;

    Sunday, December 15, 2013

    FDA PART 589 — SUBSTANCES PROHIBITED FROM USE IN ANIMAL FOOD OR FEED
    VIOLATIONS OFFICIAL ACTION INDICATED OIA UPDATE DECEMBER 2013 UPDATE

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2013/12/fda-part-589-substances-prohibited-from.html

    Dr Raymond states ;

    > The risk of contracting vCJD from veal calves is zero.

    now, about that VEAL, BSE, and CJD there from ???

    ============================================================================================================

    *** Individuals reported to eat veal on average at least once a year appear to be at 13 TIMES THE RISK of individuals who have never eaten veal.

    *** There is, however, a very wide confidence interval around this estimate. There is no strong evidence that eating veal less than once per year is associated with increased risk of CJD (p = 0.51).

    *** The association between venison eating and risk of CJD shows similar pattern, with regular venison eating associated with a 9 FOLD INCREASE IN RISK OF CJD (p = 0.04).

    *** There is some evidence that risk of CJD INCREASES WITH INCREASING FREQUENCY OF LAMB EATING (p = 0.02).

    *** In conclusion, an analysis of dietary histories revealed statistical associations between various meats/animal products and INCREASED RISK OF CJD. When some account was taken of possible confounding, the association between VEAL EATING AND RISK OF CJD EMERGED AS THE STRONGEST OF THESE ASSOCIATIONS STATISTICALLY. …

    =============================================================================================================

    snip…see full report ;

    http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20090505194948/http://bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1994/08/00004001.pdf

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    *** CJD REPORT 1994 increased risk for consumption of veal and venison
    and lamb

    http://creutzfeldt-jakob-disease.blogspot.com/2013/10/cjd-report-1994-increased-risk-for.html

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    HSUS VS USDA ET AL BAN DOWNER CALVES FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION (*veal) and
    potential BSE risk factor there from

    http://madcowusda.blogspot.com/2014/02/hsus-vs-usda-et-al-ban-downer-calves.html

    also, see comments just this week by Dr. Detwiler about atypical BSE ;

    From: Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

    Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2014 12:27 PM

    To: BSE-L BSE-L

    Cc: CJD-L ; CJDVOICE CJDVOICE ; bloodcjd bloodcjd

    Subject: Unnecessary precautions BSE MAD COW DISEASE Dr. William
    James FSIS VS Dr. Linda Detwiler 2014

    Unnecessary precautions BSE MAD COW DISEASE Dr. William James FSIS VS Dr. Linda Detwiler

    William James

    Dr. William James capped a 28-year career at USDA’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) as the agency’s chief veterinarian. During his career in FSIS he worked in the offices of Field Operations, Policy, Science, and International Affairs. James supervised district offices,
    coordinated animal welfare enforcement throughout the country, directed ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection of livestock and poultry, implemented pathogen and residue sampling and had executive oversight of import and export issues for FSIS.

    Unnecessary precautions (on BSE SRM precautions…tss)

    snip…

    2/12/2014

    http://www.meatingplace.com/Industry/Blogs/Details/48115?allowguest=true

    *********

    Response from Linda Detwiler, Assistant Director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, NOW AT Mississippi State…

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment that the current BSE SRM requirements are not necessary. Unlike your cute hound analogy where you have definitive proof of zero risk, one cannot say the same about BSE. I could provide > 5 pages of scientific justification for these requirements but I am limited by the word count.

    So in a nutshell:

    • We do not truly know or understand the “real” risk to the public in regards to vCJD as caused by classical BSE and any risk that may be caused by atypical BSE.

    • Per results of the UK’s appendix survey, it appears that humans may be susceptible to infection with the BSE agent at doses below what was previously considered. Currently the central prevalence estimate of vCJD in the UK is very close to 1 in 2,000 in the age cohort tested.

    • The UK has substantial evidence of “subclinical” vCJD and it is not known whether these people will ever develop the disease and/or if they are a risk to the blood or organ supply.

    • We have less of an understanding of atypical BSE and its potential risk to humans. All 3 native born cases in the US were atypical. The US surveillance system is not intended to detect and eliminate such cases from the food supply, hence after each case was reported, the
    government reassured the public that the SRM bans were protective.

    • In March 2013, APHIS will begin allowing the importation of certain live bovines and bovine products from other countries. The risk to the US public is not limited to the US system alone.

    http://www.meatingplace.com/Industry/Blogs/Details/48115?allowguest=true

    ***Oral Transmission of L-type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Primate Model

    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/1/pdfs/11-1092.pdf

    ***Infectivity in skeletal muscle of BASE-infected cattle

    http://www.neuroprion.org/resources/pdf_docs/conferences/prion2009/prion2009_bookofabstracts.pdf

    ***feedstuffs- It also suggests a similar cause or source for atypical BSE in these countries.

    http://www.neuroprion.org/resources/pdf_docs/conferences/prion2009/prion2009_bookofabstracts.pdf

    ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of
    Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

    http://www.neuroprion.org/en/np-neuroprion.html

    EFSA Journal 2011 The European Response to BSE: A Success Story

    snip…

    EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently delivered a scientific opinion on any possible epidemiological or molecular association between TSEs in animals and humans (EFSA Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) and ECDC, 2011). This
    opinion confirmed Classical BSE prions as the only TSE agents demonstrated to be
    zoonotic so far

    *** but the possibility that a small proportion of human cases so far classified as “sporadic” CJD are of zoonotic origin could not be excluded.

    ***Moreover, transmission experiments to non-human primates suggest that some TSE agents in addition to Classical BSE prions in cattle (namely L-type Atypical BSE, Classical BSE in sheep,
    transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) and chronic wasting disease (CWD)
    agents) might have zoonotic potential.

    snip…

    http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/e991.htm?emt=1

    http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/e991.pdf

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Seven main threats for the future linked to prions

    First threat

    The TSE road map defining the evolution of European policy for protection against prion
    diseases is based on a certain numbers of hypotheses some of which may turn out
    to be erroneous. In particular, a form of BSE (called atypical Bovine Spongiform
    Encephalopathy), recently identified by systematic testing in aged cattle
    without clinical signs, may be the origin of classical BSE and thus potentially
    constitute a reservoir, which may be impossible to eradicate if a sporadic
    origin is confirmed.

    ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. These atypical BSE cases constitute an unforeseen first threat that could sharply modify the European approach to prion diseases.

    Second threat

    snip…

    http://www.neuroprion.org/en/np-neuroprion.html

    Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee

    The possible impacts and consequences for public health, trade and agriculture of the Government’s decision to relax import restrictions on beef Final report June 2010

    2.65 At its hearing on 14 May 2010, the committee heard evidence from Dr Alan Fahey who has recently submitted a thesis on the clinical neuropsychiatric, epidemiological and diagnostic features of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.48 Dr Fahey told the committee of his concerns regarding the lengthy incubation period for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the inadequacy of current tests and the limited nature of our current understanding of this group of diseases.49

    2.66 Dr Fahey also told the committee that in the last two years a link has been established between forms of atypical CJD and atypical BSE. Dr Fahey said that: *** They now believe that those atypical BSEs overseas are in fact causing sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. They were not sure if it was due to mad sheep disease or a different form. If you look in the textbooks it looks like this is just arising by itself. *** But in my research I have a summary of a document which states that there has never been any proof that sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has arisen de novo-has arisen of itself. There is no proof of that. The recent research is that in fact it is due to atypical forms of mad cow disease which have been found across Europe, have been found in America and have been found in Asia. These atypical forms of mad cow disease typically have even longer incubation periods than the classical mad cow disease.50

    http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/rrat_ctte/mad_cows/report/report.pdf

    Atypical BSE in Cattle

    To date the OIE/WAHO assumes that the human and animal health standards set out in the BSE chapter for classical BSE (C-Type) applies to all forms of BSE which include the H-type and L-type atypical forms. This assumption is scientifically not completely justified and accumulating evidence suggests that this may in fact not be the case. Molecular characterization and the spatial distribution pattern of histopathologic lesions and immunohistochemistry (IHC) signals are
    used to identify and characterize atypical BSE. Both the L-type and H-type atypical cases display significant differences in the conformation and spatial accumulation of the disease associated prion protein (PrPSc) in brains of afflicted cattle. Transmission studies in bovine transgenic and wild type mouse models support that the atypical BSE types might be unique strains because they have different incubation times and lesion profiles when compared to C-type BSE. When L-type BSE was inoculated into ovine transgenic mice and Syrian hamster the resulting molecular fingerprint had changed, either in the first or a subsequent passage, from L-type into C-type BSE.

    In addition, non-human primates are specifically susceptible for atypical BSE as demonstrated by an approximately 50% shortened incubation time for L-type BSE as compared to C-type. Considering the current scientific information available, it cannot be assumed that these different BSE types pose the same human health risks as C-type BSE or that these risks are mitigated by the same protective measures.

    This study will contribute to a correct definition of specified risk material (SRM) in atypical BSE. The incumbent of this position will develop new and transfer existing, ultra-sensitive methods for the detection of atypical BSE in tissue of experimentally infected cattle.

    http://www.prionetcanada.ca/detail.aspx?menu=5&dt=293380&app=93&cat1=387&tp=20&lk=no&cat2

    full text ; atypical L-type BASE BSE

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/04/update-from-usda-regarding-detection-of.html

    However, a BSE expert said that consumption of infected material is the only known way that
    cattle get the disease under natural conditons.

    *** “In view of what we know about BSE after almost 20 years experience, contaminated feed has been the source of the epidemic,” said Paul Brown, a scientist retired from the National
    Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. BSE is not caused by a microbe. It is caused by the misfolding of the so-called “prion protein” that is a normal constituent of brain and other tissues. If a diseased version of the protein enters the brain somehow, it can slowly cause all the normal versions to become misfolded. It is possible the disease could arise spontaneously, though such an event has never been recorded, Brown said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/case-of-mad-cow-disease-found-in-california-animal-but-food-supply-said-safe/2012/04/24/gIQAtelqfT_story.html
    *** What irks many scientists is the USDA’s April 25 statement that the rare disease is “not
    generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.” The USDA’s
    conclusion is a “gross oversimplification,” said Dr. Paul Brown, one of the
    world’s experts on this type of disease who retired recently from the National
    Institutes of Health. “(The agency) has no foundation on which to base that
    statement.”

    http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/02/11501754-are-usda-assurances-on-mad-cow-case-gross-oversimplification?lite

    2012 ATYPICAL L-TYPE BSE BASE CALIFORNIA ‘confirmed’ Saturday, August 4, 2012

    *** Final Feed Investigation Summary – California BSE Case – July 2012

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/08/final-feed-investigation-summary.html

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    BSE Case Associated with Prion Protein Gene Mutation (g-h-BSEalabama) and VPSPr PRIONPATHY

    (see mad cow feed in COMMERCE IN ALABAMA…TSS)

    http://prionpathy.blogspot.com/2010/08/bse-case-associated-with-prion-protein.html
    I could go on, but I still can’t understand what the big deal about testing for BSE TSE prion is, unless they just fear what they will find. …kind regards, terry

  • doc raymond

    BB, I could not agree more with you, and would add 24/7 inspection in the pens of old cull cows and bulls. These areas, including veal calves, make for easy pickin’s by HSUS and others. but of course without funding from Congress this is not going to happen. It is easier for them to get re-elected by citing humane handling issues thru removal of non-ambulatory calves than by increasing the spending of tax dollars.
    And Terry, I promised the editor you would respond so thanks for backing my prediction up. I have read your tripe before so did not reread the whole thing. but your point about the age of the cattle takes on the scientific regulatory bodies of every country but one that exports US beef. They all, but one, agree that meat from cattle under 30 months of age carries zero risk of BSE prions.

    • http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/ Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

      Dr. Richard Raymond Sir, I only reply when you are scientifically wrong. I commented today, because again, you were scientifically wrong, and I proved it again, with scientific facts to back it up. sorry if that upsets you. you can fool some of the folks some of the time, but not all of us all the time. you either blatantly lied in your editorial, or you are grossly uninformed, time and time again. I think the public can take their pick on that, and in both cases, and they would be correct in both cases, in my opinion. you have a nice day sir. …kind regards, terry

      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/08/central-valley-meat-company-usda-did-its-job-ok/#comment-675748199

      see full text Dr. Richard Raymond vs Terry S. Singeltary Sr.

      http://downercattle.blogspot.com/2012/08/central-valley-meat-company-usda-did.html

      kind regards,
      terry

    • tallen2007

      Derogatory comments immediately cause you to lose the battle. Scientists right up to the 19th century believed in Spontaneous Generation, and some even wrote recipe books for making animals. Only God knows the whole truth and you are not God. Mr Singeltary is doing his best to keep us informed as best he can. Too bad you are not open to others points of view.

  • gene

    Dr. Raymond’s article and Mr. Munsell’s comments are both persuasive and eloquent and yet I find it ironic that both leave me wanting to be a vegetarian.

  • lifeinorange

    On T. S. Singeltary’s comments…….WOW!

  • Sharon Umbrell

    Dear Dr. Raymond; I have to disagree with you. Even though your saying most caves, pigs etc. are down, downer or non ambulatory because of dehydration, fatigue etc. I’m sure there are some that are also sick. As you say “most”. are dehydration fatigue stress and age. So with that being the case, are you suggesting that a holding pen be set?
    With your idea of stress and fatigue, a 24 to 48 hour holding time would put the animal back on its feet “if” it is downed due to stress etc. The animals that don’t get back on their feet in that amount of time would then trully be a downed animal.
    The same would go for your bob veal calfs, at one week that calf sould not be in the condition you suggest. Even a calf that has been tied to a crate at one week old sould be able to stand with out shaky legs. If a one week old bob veal calf has the shaky legs of a new born, than that calf has been under major transport stress. Again the 24 to 48 hour rest period would be the answer and that amount of time would not change the quiality of the meat.

  • Gertrude “Trudy”

    Mr. Singletary’s comment is factual. I wish he were a regular writer for Food Safety News.
    I also wish the food industry were more moderate in its methods and financial goals.
    More local MOFGA farmers and animal raisers, less animal-as-machine giant food production systems. My take on it is–Put your money where your mouth is. Buy from farmers not Farma. Contribute to lawmakers who vote the same way you would. Vote against the ones who don’t.
    Besides…Big Farma’s prices aren’t that much lower…only their nutritional profiles are.
    And you don’t know where the food product came from. The label only shows the distributor.
    The MOFGA raw milk, eggs, and meat I buy provide on the front labels the names, addresses, sometimes phone numbers or even a map to the farms producing them.
    Anyone is welcome to come visit and see how they run things, and maybe buy something.
    Disease is not a big problem. “Downers” aren’t either (animals who are “down” due to mistreatment equivalent to a WWII Nazi concentration camp). Maybe because MOFGA animals are grass-fed and mostly free-range, despite our northern winters..indoors only when it’s too bad outdoors.
    They aren’t as big, they don’t earn as big a gross income, yet each family-owned farm has been financially successful enough to stay in business over the years. Isn’t that financial success?