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US efforts to keep BSE quiet

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Southern Manitoba
Efforts to keep livestock investigations quiet

Mar 03, 2005 (The Canadian Press via COMTEX) -- Lawmakers in several states are working on bills that would keep secret information developed during investigations of reports of animal diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease:

-Colorado: Information obtained and held by the agriculture commissioner through testing for certain diseases and the results of surveillance and investigation could be closed to the public at the commissioner's discretion until the matter is dismissed without action or a quarantine is issued. Pending.

-Idaho: Exempts from public disclosure records the state collects to increase traceability of infected or exposed animals and the registration of the premises where those animals are held. Signed into law in 2004.

-Maryland: The agriculture secretary would be required to maintain all reports regarding animal disease testing and surveillance in such a way as to protect the identity of the animal owners. Disclosure of such information to a "person of interest" as defined by the secretary or to a government agency would be allowed if the secretary determines it's necessary to protect the public health or prevent the spread of infectious disease. Pending.

-Utah: Would provide "protected" status to agriculture department records relating to the National Animal Identification System and programs dealing with tracking, identifying or controlling livestock diseases. Pending.

-Wyoming: Information collected about certain diseases identified by the state veterinarian shall be confidential, and access will be limited to the person who reports the disease and the state veterinarian. The veterinarian has the discretion to give the information to whoever needs to have it, such as neighboring ranchers, other state agencies or the public. False reporting of the disease is now a misdemeanor. Signed into law in February.
New addition to the list of world-renowned oxymorons - "Wyoming... veterinarian['s]... discretion" or should we expand the honour outside of Wyoming vets?

I'm sure you get the picture. :twisted:
Lawmakers in several states are working on bills that would keep secret information developed during investigations of reports of animal diseases, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease:

I think probably the legislation is being framed to give privacy to livestock owners under the various states' identification systems much as our ccia info is supposed to be private and confidential.
Congratulations, Don, I believe you got that right! The proposed, proably soon to be required, Mandatory ID will be a better "sell" to cattlemen if privacy of our information on those RFID tags can be limited to "need to know", in cases of disease, and "right to know", given ONLY to whom the owner of the cattle and the information chooses.

Unfortunately, the choice of title of this thread shows the intent of conspiracy minded people, when what we need is factual information.

Some public perception ...


Don't Hide A Cow, Man

Lebanon Daily News Article Last Updated: Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 3:02:26 AM EST

A little government secrecy is a necessary thing. It can prevent those in dangerous occupations like undercover drug enforcement or espionage from being killed. But if too much government secrecy has even the most marginal possibility of doing the opposite, it can't be allowed.

Lawmakers and beef-industry lobbyists are working on the federal government to impose gag rules concerning mad-cow disease investigations. Cattle-producing states don't want word getting out that such probes are under way, because they believe it could harm their commerce for no good reason.

It may be that word of a potential case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy which can be transmitted to humans in the form of the deadly variant Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome will cause transient fluctuations in beef sales. But we suspect that American consumers have become more savvy and more discerning of news in a world of color-coded terror warnings and anthrax outbreaks. They will not spurn beef as what's for dinner because of an investigation.

On the other hand, keeping the meat-buying public in the dark about investigations takes away their freedom to choose the better-safe-than-sorry route and increases the probablity that when something bad does happen, there will be a real panic.

The opposing sides on this issue aren't surprising. Cattle-industry backers want the limitations; consumer groups do not.

What it comes down to in our mind is the overall public good. The mum's-the-word course will pay benefits for cattle producers. They won't be faced with market fluctuations and public-relations and marketing hassles that might surface due to diesease investigations.

But there are lots more of us than there are of them. And we want to know.

Actually, we suspect that, in the long run, the industry would be better off if people are told about all investigations. We want to know that somebody's out there looking out for our health. It will tend to increase consumer confidence.

Nothing breeds conspiracy, fear and paranoia like secrecy. The quieter the government gets, the more folks out on the margins will seek to fill the void with sound and fury about what the government might be doing and how it might hurt the public.

The world can be a worrisome place. Government secrecy for no good reason shouldn't be one of the things we're worried about.

Take care.
on not releasing info on cattle diseases comes from experience. State and Feds sent tests out of state and they came back positive. They were testing elk for "bangs", the tests were then done on the surrounding cattle herds. One womans cattle tested positive. The name and address was given out and it appeared on state and national news. They had to retest thousand of animals three times in that area. Then feds and state noticed that it was a positive all right, but for the wrong species. It was for buffalo not bovine. It was a lab error, a contaminated specimen, which the lab never admited. I know her and her cattle herd, which is one of the best run in the state. The Fed and state decided to put some checks and balances in the system before such a wreck happened again.
Thats all it is folks :)
Thank you so much for that info. I'm sure that this means that these bills will always be used for such honourable purposes. My confidence in your system completely restored. :roll:

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