Here's something that I came across recently. A marketing club wanted to get the facts on R-Calf's positions on issues so they contacted the national office in Billings and asked if they would send someone to their meeting so they could get the facts (straight from the horse's mouth). R-Calf sent Dennis McDonald and he was billed by R-Calf as a leading US cattle expert and R-Calf's trade committee chairman. When asked what R-Calf's official position was if a domestic case of BSE were to arise in the US, as a large number of people in the scientific community do not agree with him as to how BSE occurs (he made the comment, in front of media, after being asked if a disease that the human form of, which has been linked to less that 300 deaths world wide in the last 15 years, approximately 20 some of which have been linked directly to consumption of specific risk materials, and to which the scientific community has linked 0 cases to the consumption of muscle cuts, was a credible, legitimate threat to consumer's health and to the safety of the US food supply, he emphatically stated twice that it was.). This "leading cattle expert" stated, and was quoted in the press, that "If there is a positive case again in the US, we as a beef producing nation, shouldn't market beef in cattle older that 20 months.". When it was stated by a producer in attendance that commercial cattle producers have approximately 30% of their income from sales of cattle over the 20 month age limit R-Calf apparently has set to discontinue marketing Mr. McDonald countered that "BSE has never been found in cattle aged 20 months or younger, so why even take the chance". It seems to me that either Mr. McDonald is a loose cannon in the R-Calf organization or R-Calf doesn't truly represent the cow-calf producers as they continually say they do. What does R-Calf propose that cow-calf producers do with older animals? Shoot, shovel and shut-up? Loose up to 30% of our income? Scare the consumers and drive them away as they seem to want to do with fear mongering based on conjecture and hear-say? Or (here's a novel idea that R-Calf should look at as policy) should we use science and testing of high risk animals like we do now to promote food safety and consumer confidence?