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From: TSS ()
Subject: Tennessee is "playing Russian roulette" with mad cow disease
Date: March 7, 2006 at 4:35 pm PST

Rep: State playing roulette with mad cow
By ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press
March 7, 2006

NASHVILLE — Tennessee is "playing Russian roulette" with mad cow disease until it clamps down on livestock feed regulations, state Rep. Frank Niceley said Tuesday.
The Strawberry Plains Republican is sponsoring a bill that would go beyond federal regulations by banning all feed containing cattle protein or bone meal made from cattle or other ruminant animals such as sheep.

Cattle feed is currently covered under the ban, but other animals like hogs and chickens can be given feed containing animal parts. Niceley said cross contamination of feeds could lead to cattle being fed cattle parts.

"When we get mad cow in Tennessee, we’re all gong to wish we had done the right thing and banned animal parts in animal feed," Niceley said at a meeting of the House Agriculture Committee meeting.

With $514 million in receipts last year, beef cattle are Tennessee’s largest agricultural product and the state ranks ninth nationally, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

In people, eating meat or cattle products contaminated with mad cow disease is linked to a rare but fatal nerve disorder, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

No one is known to have contracted the disease in the United States. It has turned up in two people who lived in the U.S., but it’s believed they were infected in the United Kingdom during an outbreak there in the 1980s and 1990.

The U.S. has found two cases of mad cow disease in cattle. Since the first case, confirmed in December 2003 in Washington state in a Canadian-born cow, the government has tested more than half a million of the nation’s 95 million cows. The second case was confirmed last June in a Texas-born cow.

The cow in the Washington state case is believed to have eaten feed that contained parts from an infected animal.

"We’ve got a disaster coming," Niceley said. "It’s just a matter of time until we get mad cow in Tennessee. It’s going to devastate our beef herd."

Mad cow disease is the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a degenerative nerve disease in cattle.

Michael Talley, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Knoxville office, told the committee that stricter feed laws adopted by the European Union were based on the public outcry after mad cow outbreaks there.

"The European union bowed to not the science, they bowed to the social pressure," he said.

Talley said it’s "not scientifically supported to say that if you take every single piece of ruminant cattle out of feed, you’re decreasing the likelihood of BSE."

The primary firewall against mad cow disease is a federal ban on using cattle remains in cattle feed, which the United States put in place in 1997. The FDA is currently formulating new rules for cattle feed that it hopes to have in place by July, Talley said.

Those rules would prohibit all "specified risk materials," including the brain and spinal cords of animals older than 30 months, to be kept out of animal feed, he said.

Niceley said those rules don’t go far enough, arguing that tissues from the brain and spine contaminate the rest of the cow when it is slaughtered. He also disputed concerns that excluding animal parts from all feed would significantly increase feed costs.

"We all know that animal parts in animal feed causes mad cow," Niceley said. "We’re playing Russian roulette."

The committee on Tuesday decided to delay action on Niceley’s bill so it can study the issue further.

Copyright 2006, Associated Press. All rights reserved.,1406,KNS_348_4521484,00.html

> The committee on Tuesday decided to delay action on Niceley’s bill so it can study the issue further

THERE is nothing else to study. THEY have beat these dead dog long enough! Transmission via oral consumption is FACT. JAPAN has ever right to ban USA beef. what Rep. Frank Niceley does not understand is, the USDA is in the business of cover-up mad cow disease instead of finding it. THIS has been proven time and time again. THIS is fact. I say it with pride and great disgust now. ...TSS

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