Never mind the most recent case.
Instead think back to last year after the first (documented) case of mad cow disease in the U.S. Remember the sweeping new rules announced by the USDA and FDA that were supposed to further restrict the use of animal byproducts in cattle feed? Well it appears that those rules are passing quietly into the night.
This story appeared on page 29A of my paper today.
American cattle are eating chicken litter, cattle blood and restaurant leftovers that could help transmit mad cow disease — a gap in the U.S. defense that the Bush administration promised to close nearly 18 months ago.
“Once the cameras were turned off and the media coverage dissipated, then it’s been business as usual, no real reform, just keep feeding slaughterhouse waste,” said John Stauber.
Chicken litter is significant because cattle remains are used in poultry feed, feed that inevitably ends up in the litter.
And what does the FDA have to say for itself?
Today, the FDA still has not done what it promised to do. The agency declined interviews, saying in a statement only that there is no timeline for new restrictions.
There are some short term winners here. Cattle feedlots like their cheap feed supplies, and the slaughter industry garners additional profits from selling rendering for use in other feed products. I don’t think anyone wins long term though.