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Did the USA have BSE 8 years ago? Video surfaces....

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Aaron

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U.S. accused of covering up mad cow cases
Last Updated Tue, 12 Apr 2005 21:26:58 EDT
CBC News

OTTAWA - There was testimony on Tuesday before a House of Commons committee alleging that the United States has covered up cases of mad cow disease – allegations that are supported by a CBC News investigation.

The testimony raises a question that has been asked many times: how has the U.S. been able to essentially escape bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, when Canada has had four cases?

Part of the answer could be in a slaughterhouse in Oriskany Falls, N.Y., which eight years ago may have become the home of the first American case of mad cow.

Bobby Godfrey who worked at the plant remembers a cow that arrived.

"I thought it was a mad dog, to tell you the truth. Didn't know what the hell it was. Never seen a cow act like that in all the cows I saw go through there. There was definitely something wrong with it," said Godfrey.

The suspect cow, which was recorded on video obtained by CBC News, was suspected of being the first American case of BSE.

Dr. Masuo Doi was the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian in charge of investigating the cow. "Me and my vet, including our inspector, they thought it [the cow] was quite different. They thought it was the BSE," he said.

Doi, recently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says he's haunted by fears the right tests were not done and that the case was not properly investigated by his own department.

"I don't want to carry on off to my retirement. I want to hand it over to someone to continue, to find out. I think it's very, very important," said Doi, who has never spoken out publicly about his concerns, until now.

Documents obtained by CBC News show that the U.S. government was preparing for the worst. Initial signs pointed to mad cow disease. But further tests were negative.

The final conclusion: a rare brain disorder never reported in that breed of cattle either before or since.

The conclusion, from an independent university lab, seemed to leave no doubt that this was not a case of BSE.

But CBC News has learned that key areas of the brain were never tested. The most important samples somehow went missing.

It's all in a USDA lab report that was left out of the documents officially released by the department. It proves the scientist in charge knew his investigation of the case was limited.

Without the samples, the question remains: could scientists really rule out mad cow disease?

Dr. Karl Langheindrich was the chief scientist at a USDA lab in Athens, Ga., the lab that ran some of the early tests on the cow. Now retired, he too has never spoken publicly about this case before. Without the missing brain tissue, he says, the USDA will never be able to say for sure what was wrong with the cow.

"Based on the clinical symptoms and the description given by the veterinarian you can verify, yes this animal had CNS, central nervous system disease, but you can't specify it in your findings further than that," he said.

With questions about the first cow still lingering, three months later at the same meat plant there was a second American cow with suspicious symptoms.

The second cow's brain was sent for testing and officials were told verbally the tests were negative.

Dr. Doi made repeated requests for documentary proof of the negative tests. To this day he's seen nothing. "How many are buried ... can you really trust our inspection [system?]

For weeks the USDA insisted it had no records for the second cow. Then just a few days ago it suddenly produced documents that it says proves that a cow was tested and that the tests were negative for mad cow disease.

But the documents also prove, once again, there were problems with the testing. This time so much brain tissue was missing it compromised the examination.

The problems were so severe one USDA scientist wrote that his own examination was of "questionable validity" because he couldn't tell what part of the cow's brain he was looking at.

On Tuesday, a former U.S. agriculture inspector repeated a claim before a House of Commons committee that the U.S. has covered up cases of mad cow disease. He says he's willing to take a lie detector test to prove it.

Washington has denied the allegations.

Leslie Friedlander was fired from his job as head of inspections at a meat-packing plant in Philadelphia in 1995 after criticizing what he called unsafe practices.
 

Murgen

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just saw this video on the news, pretty disturbing that the samples disappeared from the two cows shown with CNS damage. The two retired USDA vets were also questioning the safety of the US system and the current surveliance system.
 

don

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boy they better hope the japanese don't get wind of this. :D i'm sure they've heard all this a long time ago and that's why they can stall and stonewall and usda is practically powerless to get that border open.
 

don

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haven't seen it yet. i'll catch the mst feed of the cbc news. the only surprise to me is that they have it on video.
 

Murgen

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Reader, that's what the vets said, and when they questioned it, the samples had disappeared. I guess I sholuld ask my question I asked months ago. Should all samples be sent to an independent lab, for verifing?
 

Murgen

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don the video was shown on the National, so you should still be able to catch it your time
 

Murgen

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Just so everybody knows, it was not just one cow on the video, but two. One hereford and one Holstein
 

Aaron

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Here is the link to the story:

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/04/12/usbse050412.html

If you look to the right of the article, you will see the news story on video that Murgen is talking about. Runs for almost 5 minutes and works with Real Player and Quicktime. Raises lots of questions.
 

Mike

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reader (the Second) said:
Murgen said:
Reader, that's what the vets said, and when they questioned it, the samples had disappeared. I guess I sholuld ask my question I asked months ago. Should all samples be sent to an independent lab, for verifing?

This is what some have been calling for, especially in light of the differences in testing methods. They wanted the "false positives" sent to the UK for re-testing. Especially the last one.

"Independent Lab?" isn't that what Creekstone was applying for? If an independent lab screws up heads roll, but when the guvment makes a mistake it gets swept under the table. It took private company testing in Europe to bring BSE out there. It's just too hard to trust politicians who are the overseers of civil servants.
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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What is going to happen to beef demand in the US when the "big" news stations get ahold of this in the US? I think it will hurt consumer confidence! OT you better have saved a few $$ from those high prices!
 

don

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watched the central time feed. reiterated the same sort of suspicions that have been out there for a while now. would have been more interested in what friedlander had to say in ottawa today regarding private lab results vs. usda lab results. none of this is good news for any cattleman in n. america; i guess if there is a coverup going on best to get it out in the open and deal with it but it will hurt real bad.
 

Mike

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
What is going to happen to beef demand in the US when the "big" news stations get ahold of this in the US? I think it will hurt consumer confidence! OT you better have saved a few $$ from those high prices!

We'll be OK down here MR. When the consumer confidence drops they'll just cut back on the Canadian beef coming in. :wink:
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Mike,

Our beef could be safer than yours? Or the same risk!


Was it you that was asking about the HTA bull @ Douglas?
 

canadian angus

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I have feerd this day, R Calf, USDA, NCBA, do put there pants on, one leg at a time, just like me. Perhaps things ain't so good north and south of the 49th. It doesn't do us any good to see that there cattle walk the the same soil that God made. All remember that cattle are cattle and the consumer is our friend wheather it be cool, open border, J.A.P.A.N or the world. Good luck to all, but common sence will be the winner. :(

Canadian Angus
 

Mike

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Manitoba_Rancher said:
Mike,

Our beef could be safer than yours? Or the same risk!


Was it you that was asking about the HTA bull @ Douglas?

Yes, tell me about him.
 

feeder

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Thanks Aaron for posting the link to the video. I suppose I will get hung for what I'm going to say but I didn't think the first animal showed signs of BSE, The second animal couldn't get up. Does that mean it has BSE? I didn't see all the shaking and stuff with the animals as in some videos I've seen. Unless that was a shortened down version and I didn't see the worst of it. But I don't trust our USDA so nothing would surprise me. That is why we need to take one step at a time in regards to our food safety.
 

Murgen

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Feeder, As said in the video, there is no way to prove or disprove BSE in these two cows now, since the samples have disapeared.

And the clinical signs are definitely not proof of BSE, just an indication of possible infection. But when two vets worry about the signs being that of BSE, it makes you wonder!

I think the most disturbing part is the possible "coverup" and the obvious secrecy.

How many people who watched that video last night know nothing about BSE, but will wonder about the transparency of the whole BSE thing and whether it is safe to eat beef?

Like OT says, let the people decide, because the most vocal of the beef organizations (r-calf) have already made up there minds. And stated that it is unsafe to eat meat from a country that has 3 or 4 cases.
 

don

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i agree with some of what you say. i didn't think the show found any smoking gun because all that could be proven is that usda at the least screwed up enough times to be suspect and has an aversion to documentation. i also think you have to admit the people hardest to convince will be americans. the rest of the world must be very suspicious or borders would have opened to american beef about a year ago because the washington cow was not native. i would guess that the japanese know a whole lot more than cbc what has been happening in the states with bse. i doubt cbc is done with this but i hope they do a better job of building a case if there is one to be built.
 

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