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OPRAH WINFREY: MAD COW DISEASE

Oprah:
Are we feeding cattle to the cattle?

Weber:
There is a limited amount of that done in the United States... (Audience gasps)... Hang on just a second now... now keep in mind that before you view the ruminant animal, the cow, as simply vegetarian, remember that they drink milk.

Oprah:
I know, but Dr. Weber are you saying that every cow that's ever died, they've examined the reason why that cow died, before they ground that cow up and fed him to another cow?

Weber:
No, that's not what I'm saying.... Over 250 trained technicians and veterinarians around the country, everyone's watching for this, everyone would like to, in a way, want to find this -- if it is there -- because they want to protect our industry and, of course, the public.

Oprah:
Okay, I wanna know why Howard, who used to be a cattle rancher..., is now a vegetarian.

Lyman:
I know about what is happening out there with cattle. I look at it and say that's a risk that I am unwilling to take.

You know, we've had a ban in the US of feeding sheep to cows for a long time, but when they went out and looked, 25 percent of the renderers admitted that they were paying no attention to it. Voluntary bans do not work, and if we continue to do what we're doing -- feeding animals to animals -- I believe we are going to be in exactly the same place, because I've heard all of these things before in England: "We're on top of this;" "It's safe;" "We would not put the public at risk." They have put the public at risk.

Today, we could do exactly what the English did and cease feeding cows to cows. Why in the world are we not doing that? Why is it? Because we have the greedy that are getting the ear of government, instead of the needy. That's exactly why we're doing it.

Audience Member
I'm confused about why cattle are being fed lamb and why are they being fed beef?

Lyman:
Well, what it comes down to is about half of the slaughter of animals is non-sellable to humans. They either have to pay to put it into the dump or they sell it for feed. They grind it up, turn it into something that looks like brown sugar, add to it all of the animals that died unexpectedly -- all of the road kills and the euthanized animals -- grind it up and feed it back to other animals....

Audience Member
Are the animals tested before they're ground... into feed that are fed to the cows?

Weber:
There is no test other than analyzing the brains, and since we don't have animals with these symptoms, not every brain is going to be evaluated.

Oprah:
Okay, so the answer to your question is no.

Weber:
Is no, that's correct. No animal can enter the plant that has any of these symptoms, by law.... [I]t doesn't happen, Howard, and you know it....

Lyman:
Oh come on, let's get real! Any animal that is not staggering around goes in there. You know as well as I do, we have 100,000 cows per year that die. They take 2700 brains out. Of those, less than a hundred of them, they look for... spongiform. We ended up feeding downed cows to mink, the mink come down with the disease, transfer it to animals, the animals came down with it, and you're sitting here telling everybody that it's safe. Not true.

Audience:
(applause)


What You Can Do

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Written by: Earth Island Journal


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