Mad Practices, Mad Policies, Mad Cows

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued an order instructing its inspectors in Texas, where federal mad cow disease testing policies recently were violated, not to talk about the cattle disorder with outside parties," reports Steve Mitchell. The order, sent by email from the USDA's Dallas office, instructed that "all BSE inquiries MUST be directed to Congressional Public Affairs" office in Washington DC. The email was sent the day after news broke that a Texas cow displaying signs of a neurological disorder was not tested for mad cow disease. According to anonymous sources, an Austin-based government official ordered that the cow not be tested, in contradiction of official USDA policy. Consumer advocates and a USDA veterinarian say the Texas case "is not an isolated incident."