Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

How to Get Bill to Yell at His Newspaper

From an AP article in today's Chicago Tribune, headlined Dean backtracks on bin Laden remark:

"He also weighed in on the news that a cow in Washington state has tested positive for mad cow disease.

The former governor, whose state has a large dairy cow population, said the Bush administration failed to aggressively set up a tracking system for the federal government to quickly track the origins of the sick cow, quarantine other animals it came in contact with and assure the marketplace about the safety of the U.S. meat supply.

'What we need in this country is instant traceability,' he said, adding that such a system should have been set up quickly after the mad cow scare that devastated the British beef industry in the 1990s.

'This just shows the complete lack of foresight by the Bush administration once again,' Dean said."

Now, while I agree with Dean that we should have a system to trace cattle and (as a confirmed beef eater) that there are many things that we should do to assure a safe supply of meat, I was just completely unaware that the current Bush was president during the British mad cow problems of the 1990s.

In fact, here's a URL for a Washington Post article that indicates that the major mad cow problem in Britain was in 1996 when they found out that the disease could be transmitted to humans:

Mad Cow Scare Lingers in England

1996, huh? Gee, and who was the U.S. President then? Perhaps a Democrat named Clinton, not a conveniently bashed Republican named Bush?

And who was governor of the state of Vermont in 1996 and might (or might not -- I haven't been able to find any of his statements on the subject at the time) have balked at implementing a lot of expensive programs that would have an impact on the dairy farmers in that state? Oh, right, Howard Dean.

(I have managed to find an article that says that he didn't try to prevent the USDA from seizing some probably infected Vermont sheep. That's about it.)

There are lots of things that probably should be implemented to improve the safety of beef. And there is plenty of bipartisan blame to go around for the fact that they haven't been.
Tags: musings, politics

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