Shared Navigation Interface

Shared Disclaimers Reference Maps Tools Projects Photos Flowers Conferences
Members Crosswords FolkSongs MySpace GoogleVideo Weather Morgue Headlines  Editorials Alerets Links Genesis Cowfree Odds&Ends
Public Domain Photos Morgue MultiMedia Morgue          



This page was last updated on January 06, 2009 .

Mad Cow Poll
When will the next case of Mad Cow Disease be found in the U.S.?

by: Larry Walker, 5/31/04

Today is Memorial Day. Tomorrow (June 1st), USDA is going to initiate its long awaited 18-month program of "intensified" testing for Mad Cow Disease (BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy).

In an oxymoronic strategy, USDA has spent the five months since the first case of BSE was confirmed in the U.S. on a spin campaign touting the safety of our beef while (1) it has prohibited voluntary testing that exceeds its minimalist health standards, and (2) the head of USDA has publicly acknowledged that "she is expecting more cases of mad cow disease to be found in the United States, as meat inspection systems are improved."

First, let's take a look at what USDA's "intensified" testing amounts to.

"The one-time, intensive program, which kicks off Tuesday, aims to test at least 220,000 animals nationwide over the next 12 to 18 months."

This compares with about 20,000 animals per year that were tested in the last two or three years (e.g.. 30,000 in 18 months), so represents about a seven-fold increase which does indeed look dramatic.

But let us broaden the perspective just a bit. The U.S. slaughters about 35 million cattle per year, or about 52 million in 18 months.

That means that we formerly tested about 0.06% of the animals that we slaughtered in the past. At the "intensified level", we will be testing about 0.4% of the animals slaughtered!

That is less than one-half of one percent! (Published references to nearly 1% apparently compared 18 month figures with 12 month figures without accounting for the difference.)

If this fails to make you feel comfortable and confident with USDA's efforts to protect your health, then join the club.

I do agree with USDA Secretary Ann Veneman on one thing, however. 

Even as anemic as it is, the increased level of testing is going to test more cattle over the next 18 months than all of the cattle that have been tested on the North American continent up to this time combined. More Mad Cows will be found!

The only question is when, and that is a question that just begs for a betting pool. 

Those wishing to place a wager can no doubt be accommodated at just about any casino. As is not a casino, we are doing the next best thing with this web poll.

Cast your vote for when that you think the next U.S. Mad Cow will be found. My personal guestimate is August, 2004.

Larry Walker

Mad Cow Poll
When will the next mad cow be found in the U.S.

June, 2004
July, 2004
August, 2004
September, 2004
October, 2004
November, 2004
December, 2004
January, 2005
February, 2005
March, 2005
April, 2005
May, 2005
June, 2005
July, 2005
August, 2005
September, 2005
October, 2005
November, 2005
After 18 months

 Permission to reprint is hereby granted by the author. If you would like to use just the web poll on your web site, then you are welcome to copy and paste it.         Larry Walker