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Media Editorials

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Beefman

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The following link is an editorial that appeared in USA Today last week.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-07-31-our-view_x.htm

In response to this inaccurate editorial, Maxine & Ralph Jones of Midland, SD sent the following response:

Mad cow sensationalism hurts industry
We and two of our sons and their families all make our living and eat beef from cattle raised on our 113-year-old beef cattle ranch in western South Dakota. We are troubled by the overabundance of misinformation regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the media. USA TODAY's editorial did nothing to help that situation ("Mad cow cases met with shrug instead of safeguards," Our view, Protecting U.S. beef debate, Aug. 1).
• Cattle ranchers most certainly have not "shrugged" at this disease. One cattle producer organization, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, has been pro-active in the fight to prevent BSE in U.S. cattle. The group's leaders and staff studied the situation in England and urged the Agriculture Department to work to do anything necessary to prevent the disease. To that end, the feed ban that USA TODAY's editorial mentioned was implemented in 1997.

• The editorial makes it sound as if glitches in the laws and rules about animal feed lead to wholesale abuses. That simply is not true. The effort to find and eliminate such problems is ongoing, as is necessary in such a large industry.

• The editorial also makes it sound as though actual cow blood is fed to baby calves. Of course it isn't! A dried derivative or component of the blood or blood fats might have been included in the dry powdered milk replacement for the calves. BSE is not known to be transmissible in any way but through brain tissue. All that material, plus more to be on the safe side, is removed from cattle older than 30 months and does not get into the food chain.

USA TODAY might do more good by making a more thorough study of BSE and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and telling readers what the best peer-reviewed, published scientists in the world actually know about this family of diseases, and by encouraging more research.

There have been perhaps 150 human deaths theoretically connected with BSE in the entire world since the beginning of knowledge of the disease family.

Readers would be better served by less sensationalism about the beef industry.

Maxine R. and Ralph D. Jones, Midland, S.D.
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Thanks to Maxine & Ralph for taking the time and effort to respond to this editorial. Efforts like this help.

There's a post listed below, which details a recent NY Times editorial. NCBA has provided information on how to respond to this piece. Anyone of us could tear that editorial apart. Doing so, helps.

Beefman
 

mrj

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Beefman, thanks for posting our letter to the editor.

Previous to my letter, there was an editorial by USA Today claiming the usual mis-information about BSE. The thing in that piece that really got to me was the statement that made it sound like actual cow blood is being fed directly to baby calves.

I have to wonder if these editorial boards are being fed the mis-information because, while I haven't really dug into the NYT one sounds sounds very much the same thing.......as have several others.

USA Today did carry a counter editorial by Jim McAdams and I was not writing to get printed, but to make the point that ranchers are concerned and are working to find answers and solutions to BSE and that we most certainly did not react to BSE with "shoulder shrugging" as they claimed.

The lady who called to ask about my letter was very nice, edited it for length very fairly, and also placed it very favorably , following it by a letter from an employee or leader of an anti-meat activist organization......where the "feeding blood to calves" myth WAS emphasized, proving my point.

Ordinary ranchers really do need to do more of this, because most media people do read and take note, whether they print it or not, if the letters are coherent in making your point, and not just "cussing them out".

MRJ
 

Bill

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Good for you MRJ. Nice to see people such as yourself that are proactive and actually doing good for the beef industry and cattle producers. Unlike the wannabe's that contribute nothing to anything like Hayshaker and then whine, cry and look to others to straighten out their messed up pants.
 

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