Why don’t they want to talk about the good cows instead of the ones that can kill people which, by the way, is a bad thing.
Ranchers want legislation to require that beef be labeled with its country of origin, and a national ban on sales of so-called “downer” cows, cattlemen told a congressman who has opposed both measures.
Rep. George Nethercutt, R-Wash., got an earful from cattlemen Monday as he toured Eastern Washington to hear from ranchers buffeted by the discovery in the state of a dairy cow infected with mad cow disease.
Cattlemen told Nethercutt, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, that they are willing to trust their livelihood to the choices made by informed American consumers.
“Consumers deserve to be able to make an educated choice,” Medical Lake rancher Craig Grub told Nethercutt. “They should have done it years ago.”
The Spokane County Cattle Association backs country-of-origin labeling. But Nethercutt, who in the past has opposed such labeling, said they should be careful what they wish for.
“You let government mandate it for you, and it may not be what you want,” Nethercutt told the ranchers. “If you were sitting in my chair, you may feel differently about it.”
The cattlemen said a national ban on the sale of downer cows – animals too sick to enter slaughterhouses on their own feet – should have been adopted long before the Holstein with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, was discovered last month in a Mabton dairy herd.
A week after she announced the cow’s discovery, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman banned the use of downer cows by meatpackers.
But cattlemen said the issue is important as they seek to assure consumers that the food supply is safe.
“I think the downer cattle issue has hurt us more than BSE,” Nespelem cattleman Don McClure said.
Nethercutt told the cattlemen gathered at the Spokane County Extension office that a ban would result in them losing all income from downer cattle.
At least two cattlemen said they were willing to take that loss and wouldn’t sell beef they wouldn’t let their own children eat.
Did I mention that George wants to be a Senator?
(Thanks to Susan for the link)