The U.S. Department of Agriculture, "under fire for the way it has handled the discovery of mad cow disease" in the U.S., announced plans to test hundreds of thousands of cattle over a 12 to 18 month period.
Mad Cow Disease
The United States' 'don't look, don't find' policy on mad cow disease is beginning to crumble under the weight of the international boycott of US beef. AP, UPI and here the New York Times are all reporting that "a beef producer in Kansas has proposed testing all its
cattle for mad cow disease so it can resume exports to
Japan, but it is encountering resistance from the
Agriculture Department and other beef producers. American beef exports have plummeted since Dec. 23 when a
"Mad cow disease probably has been established in North
America for more than a decade, and Americans should be prepared for the
discovery of more domestic cases as it spreads through herds. A panel of international experts released these findings Wednesday to U.S.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, also urging the Department of Agriculture
to toughen protections put into place following the Dec. 23 discovery of an
Today's issue of Hill profiles Chandler Keys, chief lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Corporate-funded think tanks and food industry front groups are rushing into the debate over mad cow disease. This Wednesday, January 28th, the George C.
The Denver Post reports that "livestock organizations are launching a $5.5 million media campaign to promote domestic demand for beef in the face of mad-cow concerns. A $4 million series of television ads will launch Monday. They were originally scheduled to start January 12, but the beef groups decided to delay the campaign for two weeks while news coverage of mad cow disease eased up. ...
In our book Trust Us, We're Experts! we describe the "third party technique" that PR experts use. Reassuring words come from the mouths of supposed objective scientific experts to convince the public that a crisis is really no problem at all. A current example would be the industry front group called the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.
Since the announcement that mad cow disease has been found in the US, John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton have conducted hundreds of interviews based on their 1997 book Mad Cow USA. The US government and the livestock industry have launched a massive PR campaign to hide the fact that they are not taking the necessary steps to stop mad cow disease in the US. However, some excellent reporting is piercing their PR smokescreen.
"Under a new proposal, the White House would decide what and when
the public would be told about an outbreak of mad cow disease, an anthrax
Paul Holmes, long time journalist covering the PR industry for his own trade press publications, blasts the arrogance and stupidity of the US beef industry and its protectors in the government, over the emergence of mad cow disease in the US. Holmes writest that "more than a decade has passed since an epidemic of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy, better known as mad cow disease, ravaged British beef
and dairy herds, so it's fair to say American cattlemen have had
every opportunity to study that outbreak and learn from it. Yet to