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MAD COWS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
By Leo M. Schwartz
Pandemic Infects Congress, USDA, NCBA
Cattlemen and women are one of the few ‘independents’ left in American Agriculture. That independence could soon come to an end.
Poultry production has been “vertically integrated” into a tightly controlled structure of government-sanctioned, corporate monopolism. Many “producers” may not realize it, but the “industry” has been consolidated and restructured to more closely resemble an industrial assembly-line than Agriculture, and “producers” have been forced to assume increased risks without commensurate rewards.
Today, there are no free markets and few options for “producers” once they have been enticed and locked into the vertically integrated system. There is little in the way of contractual certainty. When the company says “jump”, the “producer” asks “how high?” Without warning, “contracts” may be changed or cancelled, often leaving them stuck with unmanageable debt on land, facilities and equipment not economically convertible for other uses.
For many years, the same corporate “integrators” have had their jaundiced eyes on Cattlemen. They would like nothing better than to run us into the “industry head catch” where we can be “cut” and turned out as neutered cogs on the corporate meat plantation, little different than assembly line workers flipping burgers at McDonalds.
My cow-calf operation isn’t “industry” and it won’t be as long as I own it. If it were a John Deere dealership it might be “ag industry.” In the 1950s, America still had Agriculture. Today, it’s called “the agricultural industry”, a not-so-subtle change. Who promoted the change in terms, perceptions and reality? Who benefits?
Just about every Cattleman I’ve ever spoken with is fed up with the increasing burden of federal, state and local government regulations and taxation; fed up with markets being manipulated by the big packers; fed up with seeing 70 cent steers at the auction barn and $7 steaks at Krogers and Wal-mart; fed up with congressmen, senators and bureaucrats who either don’t care, or long ago sold out for NAFTA, GATT, WTO, Free Trade and the whole Globalist, New World Order ball of wax which has made American Agriculture (and just about every other sector of our economy) non-competitive.
Cattlemen face many threats, but the biggest threat seems to be we have not learned very much from years of betrayal by the USDA/NCBA/Meat Industry Cartel. We’ve let them back us into a corner, and maybe a coroner, because we swallow their lies like hogs at a trough of stale Krispy Kreme donuts. We’re too dumbed-down to realize how sick their sugar-poison makes us. We like the way it tastes.
Over the past dozen years a few lone voices have attempted to warn Cattlemen against USDA encouraged practices such as feeding chicken litter to cattle. Some took the warnings as “crackpot, organic farming” ideas which were completely contrary to the conventional, industrial “scientific wisdom” spouted by the USDA and Extension Offices across the country. Hey, it must be OK if it comes from the USDA!
One neighbor—soon after the mad cow was found in Washington—said it might not be the “best thing in the world” to feed cattle, but “I’ll continue feeding my cattle [and the beef consumers of America] chicken crap until it’s outlawed because it’s cheap feed.”
Yes, chicken litter is cheap, high-protein feed, it’s tough for Cattlemen to make ends meet and Virginia has a big poultry industry with mega-tons of litter to dispose of. But the long-term, negative consequences of feeding animal waste to ruminants—waste contaminated with all sorts of chemical additives—have taken a back seat to sound animal husbandry and science—and just plain common sense that is independent of any “organic farming” practices.
There have been plenty of warnings. “Years ago, chicken litter was used in Queensland as a feed supplement for cattle in order to provide high protein levels,” according to the Australian government. “Some batches of chicken litter have caused cattle to die from botulism.” In one case, over 5000 head of feedlot cattle died from contaminated litter.
Alpharma, Inc. manufacturers Roxarsone which is ground and mixed with chicken feed by Tyson and others in the poultry industry to enhance growth. Roxarsone passes straight through chickens to their litter and becomes the toxic poison known as Inorganic Arsenic III and Inorganic Arsenic V.
Last December, several lawsuits were filed in Washington County, Arkansas, against Tyson, Alpharma Inc., Cargill, and others. The suits, on behalf of residents of Prairie Grove, claim poultry companies use chicken feed tainted with high levels of arsenic, copper and zinc as well as fungi and mold spores, which caused children’s deaths, blood disorders and rare cancers.
In 1978, the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Louisiana State University, reported cattle from two herds developed copper toxicosis after the ingestion of chicken litter. The affected animals were adult Holstein cows and crossbred steers.
Dr. Stephen Sundlof, FDA’s director for the Center for Veterinary Medicine, acknowledges, “adding chicken litter to cattle feed is one of the primary methods of waste disposal for the chicken growers” in the Southeast. “From an environmental standpoint, what are people going to do with the poultry litter? One of the benefits of doing this was that it was an environmentally sound way of recycling the material.” (emphasis added)
In January, the FDA finally felt compelled to recommend “bans on the widespread practice of adding blood, chicken excrement and restaurant table scraps to feed”, but was “deluged with troubling feedback.” The agency is still “struggling” between the need for safeguards against mad cow disease and a mountain of chicken dung.
The Cartel and the “academic community” have attempted to discredit or ignore the findings of British Stockman and scientist, Mark Purdey. His research (www.purdeyenvironment.com) indicates heavy-metal contaminants, the application of organophosphate insecticides, and other external factors are prime suspects for causing BSE in cattle and similar conditions in other species, including man.
If Purdey’s findings, which are clearly contrary to “accepted wisdom”, prove to be valid, another layer of the Cartel’s lies would be exposed. And that would throw a monkey-wrench into the scheme to “integrate” Cattlemen into their command-and-control “industry” via a mandatory U.S. Animal I.D. Program (USAID).
Because of the incestuous ties between government and the “industry” (remember the Clinton-Tyson connection and now the Bush-Venneman-Harrison-Moore-NCBA connection?), and the potential damage to the corporate meat empire’s bottom line, any attempt to get at the truth about the causes of the complex BSE malady appears to be stonewalled at the highest levels. Instead of truth, official “crisis” propaganda and media fear mongering are used to cower Americans into begging for another layer of mandatory government “protection.”
The Mandatory Protection Racket, USAID, will not prevent or control disease, nor will it “protect the safety and security of our food supply” any more than a $40 billion intelligence budget and thousands of federal agents protected 3000 people and the World Trade Towers. The end result will be less food safety and more government control.
What the USAID Protection Racket will do is financially break the backs of the small farmer and rancher; put us out of business and at the same time devastate the economy, culture and traditions of rural America; further consolidate and integrate cattle markets by cutting the throats of stockyard owners across the country; allow the Cartel access to private pricing, sales and herd number data; allow more government control over private property; allow additional government snooping into and surveillance of every link in the food chain; limit choices for consumers; and create more layers of regulatory bureaucracy at state and federal levels—all in response to a fabricated “crisis.” Who pays?
The big boys and the corporate farms and ranches might prosper, at least in the short run. They’ll likely get “assistance” to comply with integrated USAID. The integrators may “help out” by offering “contracts”, dictating the terms, the genetics of the cattle, and the feed ingredients, in a similar manner to the poultry “industry”—in the name of “meat safety, efficiency and productivity”, of course.
At some point, it’s possible the Cartel won’t need most of them. It may be cheaper to “outsource” the “beef industry”, maybe to China. Then American families could shop for everything they need, including beef, at one cheap, safe, secure, convenient, USDA approved, RFID scanned, “company store”: Wal Mart.
If we don’t want our cattle and our private land marked with a mandated number in order to buy and sell; if we don’t want to be castrated and “vertically integrated” by the politicians and the Meat Industry Cartel, we had better not let them run us down the chute. And we had better start bellowing, getting wild-eyed and slinging snot.
© 2004 - L. M. Schwartz - All Rights Reserved
Leo M. Schwartz is the Chairman of The Virginia Land Rights Coalition, P.O. Box 85, McDowell, Virginia, 24458 (540) 396-6217 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Just about every Cattleman I’ve ever spoken with is fed up with the increasing burden of federal, state and local government regulations and taxation; fed up with markets being manipulated..."