Organic Consumers Association

Worker at Washington Meat Plant that Slaughtered Mad Cow Tells All

>From Columbia Basin Herald (Washington state) 1/17/04

Is the beef safe? Who knows?

My name is Dave and I work at Vern's Moses Lake Meats. I did until the day
the mad cow test results on the Sunny Dene cow came back positive for BSE.
That was Wednesday, Dec. 24. On Friday, Dec. 26, the KXLY news crew was at
the end of Vern's driveway, locked out by a cable gate. The USDA had told
the world that the mad cow had been slaughtered here, but it was not in the
food chain. A blatant lie. It was one of many.

I walked out the news crew at lunch time because I can't stand a government
cover-up. They asked me "was the cow in the food chain?" I told them of
course it was, it's meat. Where else would it be? They asked me if the cow
was a downer. I told them no, it was just an old cow.

The USDA had us taking brain stem samples from downers and back door
cripples only. Since we only had a few walkers on this trailer full of
downers, we just killed her along with them. We took a brain sample from her
head because the USDA gives up $10 per sample.

If we would have unloaded her in the pens, we would have never caught the
BSE. How many other walkers have BSE? We will never know. The USDA only
tested the downers and cripples and only at our plant. We had only been
taking brain samples for about a month when we found this one.

When the USDA said no more downers would be slaughtered, they essentially
said no more BSE testing would be done. Vern's and every other
slaughterhouse kept right on killing and selling Holstein meat from the same
area as the mad cow with no BSE testing whatsoever. This is true and easily
And just so the folks in Moses Lake don't feel left out, the beef head,
tongue, liver, kidneys and tail were sold right here in the Columbia Basin.
It's way past time for everybody to stop thinking with their bank accounts
and start trying to find a way to stop the spread of BSE.

The minute the USDA found the contaminated cow, they stopped the brain stem
collection and testing. Why? Ka-ching! It's the money. Billions.
If you want to be sure you and your family are eating safe meat, demand
testing on every beef slaughter. It's quick and easy. Don't eat another
piece of meat until you see a sticker that says tested and cleared for BSE
on the package. BSE is 100 percent fatal -- if you or your kids get it, you
die a very painful death. It's a slow, wasting disease. It's terrible.
Right now, a lot of people are telling you how safe their beef is, but they
don't know if it is or is not without testing. That's their checkbook
talking. Tat rendering plant in Canada wasn't feeding 81 cows, it was
feeding thousands of cows.

Every second that goes by, more untested beef goes on the dinner plate. If
you eat mad cow, you are going to get sick and you are going to die. Stand
up and demand safe meat.

Dave Louthan
Moses Lake

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