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From: TSS ()
Subject: U.S. mad cow coverup alleged American records not credible, former packing plant vet says
Date: April 7, 2005 at 9:06 am PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: U.S. mad cow coverup alleged American records not credible, former packing plant vet says
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 10:11:36 -0500
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
Reply-To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

##################### Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy #####################

U.S. mad cow coverup alleged
American records not credible, former packing plant vet says

Duncan Thorne
The Edmonton Journal

Thursday, April 07, 2005

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CREDIT: Chris Schwarz, The Journal
Dr. Lester Friedlander

EDMONTON - A former American government packing plant veterinarian says
the United States government is hiding cases of mad cow disease.

Dr. Lester Friedlander said Wednesday that colleagues with the United
States Department of Agriculture have told him of cases that the USDA
has chosen not to announce.

Friedlander, who has been invited to speak to Parliament's agriculture
committee next week on proposed changes to Canadian inspection
legislation, refused to give details. He said the USDA employees are
close to retirement and risk losing their pensions.

He has previously spoken out, however, about a Texas cow that had mad
cow symptoms and went untested to a rendering plant after a USDA
veterinarian condemned it at a packing plant in San Angelo.


There have been U.S. news reports that just three cows processed by the
plant were tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy over two years.
The plant, Lone Star Beef, processes older dairy cows considered at
higher risk of carrying BSE.

Friedlander said it's not credible that the USDA has found just one BSE
case and only in a cow that entered the United States from Alberta
rather than being raised in the U.S.

"You've found four cases (including a cow from Alberta discovered in
Washington state with the disease) out of 12 million cattle and the
United States has found none out of 120 million," Friedlander said in an
interview during a speaking visit to Edmonton.

He said production practices in the two countries are similar enough
that the USDA should be finding more BSE cases.


Friedlander was in charge of meat inspectors at the largest U.S.
culled-cow packing plant, in Pennsylvania, until 1995. He lost his job
for, in his words, "doing too good a job."

He has since become a public speaker on food and animal safety issues.
He was in Edmonton as a guest of the Edmonton Friends of the North
Environmental Society.

The USDA's record looks worse than the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's
but Canada needs a new "consumer" agency to oversee packing plant
inspections, he added. He said the USDA and CFIA both suffer from having
too much influence from politicians eager to please the food industry.
His proposed consumer agency would be a government body but would have
more safeguards against political influence.

Marc Richard, speaking from Ottawa for the CFIA, said the agency
enforces rules set by Parliament and does its job well.

He said it reports to Agriculture Minister Andrew Mitchell and a
replacement government agency would have to do the same.

Friedlander also warned against intensive livestock operations, such as
cattle feedlots and large hog operations. He said they are ideal
breeding grounds for bacteria and disease, and authorities have tended
to react slowly when there's an outbreak.

Delayed reaction to avian flu last year at a British Columbia poultry
operation led to a large and costly outbreak, he said.

John Feddes, an agricultural engineer at the University of Alberta, said
the province's confined feeding operations are generally run well, under
stringent rules. Large hog operations, Feddes said, are clean.

"Just because they're large doesn't mean they're going to be out of

Dr. Gerald Ollis, Alberta Agriculture's chief veterinarian, said
confined feeding ops tend to have well-educated people in charge and are
big enough that they can have vets visit more often than at smaller farms.

Ollis added that his experience of CFIA inspections is that they are
done well.

He was not aware of reports of limited BSE testing at the Texas packing
plant, but said the USDA is concentrating its tests at high-throughput


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