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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   Wallowa County Chieftain | 'Mad cattlemen's disease'e

'Mad cattlemen's disease' poses public risk
Editorial from the Wallowa County Chieftain
http://www.wallowa.com/chieftain
Copyright 1998 Wallowa County Chieftain, reprinted on VegSource with permission of author

kidzi2.gif (1231 bytes)f there is one thing the highly publicized libel lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey proved it is that "mad cow disease" is not as much of a threat to the American people as "mad cattlemen's disease."

Mad cow disease is a euphemism for Bovine Spongiform Encephalophy, which is a nervous system disorder that in cattle leads to symptoms including belligerence, confusion, poor coordination, and death. Mad cow disease forced the slaughter of 1.5 million cattle in Britain and is blamed for the death of at least 20 people.

Mad cattlemen's disease is a euphemism for a brain disorder which seems to afflict mostly Texas cattlemen. Symptoms of this malady include belligerence, confusion, poor coordination, dementia, uncontrollable anger, and impaired judgment. It causes its human victims to lash out at their fellow Americans in fits of rage.


 



Luckily for beef producers and consumers, mad cow disease has not been detected in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has banned the practice of feeding ground up cattle parts to other cattle.  Unfortunately, mad cattlemen's disease has showed up in the United States, to the detriment of freedom-loving citizens across this great land. It surfaced recently in Amarillo, Texas. The outbreak was detected when some of the victims -- billionaire cattle feeder Paul Engler and other Texas cattle barons -- sued Oprah Winfrey and food safety expert Howard Lyman for $10.3 million for statements the two made about mad cow disease on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The dementia was so acute that they blamed Winfrey for causing a $36 million drop in the cash cattle market in the two weeks following the show. Analysts later pointed out that the drop in prices was more likely caused by a drought in the southwest that forced ranchers in that part of the country to liquidate and send their cows to slaughter -- that, in general, there was a glut of meat on the market.

The jury saw through the insanity and sided with defendants Winfrey and Lyman, whose attorneys compassionately said they would not attempt to extract attorney fees from the plaintiffs, that instead they would only seek to recover $100,000 in court costs.   However, the insanity continues for the plaintiffs, who have vowed to spend more money appealing their case to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of coming up with a different verdict.

The hallucinations don't seem to be getting any better, either. The cattle barons seem to believe that their attempt to muzzle the popular talk show host somehow helped "smaller" cattlemen who could not afford to pay the cost of litigating such a high profile lawsuit.  Engler said his phones are "ringing off the wall" with calls from people who want to thank him for his efforts on behalf of the beef industry.

Those who called to thank Engler must be coming down with mad cattlemen's disease themselves, if they think that Winfrey, who speaks to an estimated 20 million people on her television program, is going to help them by telling the world she is never going to eat another hamburger.  What small cattlemen cannot afford is the kind of public relations problem they will get if the big cattle barons don't back off. Small cattlemen don't need that kind of help . . . unless what they want is help going out of business.   And they don't need the kind of help they got from Winfrey supporters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who trampled hamburgers during a protest rally to express their outrage toward Winfrey's attackers.

On behalf of the American people and small cattlemen we have only one thing to say to the Texas cattle barons: Get well soon.
-- R.S.

 

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