Man who shot the mad cow takes aim at USDA
After witnessing what he described as a blatant cover-up, this former slaughterhouse worker resigns in protest and undertakes a one-man crusade to expose the truth about BSE in the USA.


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April 2, 2004: My name is Dave Louthan. I’m the guy who shot the mad cow. I worked at Vern’s Moses Lake Meats in Washington state up until the day the test results on the Sunny Dene Ranch cow came back positive for BSE.

Since then I’ve been hammering at the USDA and trying to expose the truth about BSE in the United States. I am a whistle blower.

The USDA started covering up the mad cow problem the minute word slipped out they had found a positive BSE sample. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and Dr. Ron DeHaven, the country’s chief veterinary officer, jumped in front of the cameras and said they had a presumptive positive mad cow but it was not in the food chain. That was not the truth. They said the cow was a downer. Also not true. That cow was a good walker and, as we all know now, that cow was eaten—all of it, and by a lot of people who would never have eaten it if they had been warned. The USDA decided it would hurt business if people were warned, so they covered up the truth and continue to do so.

The State of California is so mad about the constant deception that on March 25 they introduced legislation to cause all beef killed in California and all beef brought into California to be tested. That sound you hear is me standing on my chair applauding.

The USDA says they will now test 201,000 sick and crippled cows and 20,000 healthy ones—not today, but in a few months. Since the December 24 positive testing for BSE and June, how many diseased cattle will have been killed and eaten? One for sure. Remember the 60 missing from the herd of 81? While the USDA held back the testing, the farmers rushed those cows to slaughter. Now when June gets here, the USDA will predictably announce a 2 or 3 month delay getting the program started. And so on.

Now is the most dangerous time to eat beef. Here's the scary part: According to the USDA’s recently drafted BSE Surveillance Plan, each year an estimated 251,500 cows die of unknown reasons or reasons that could be consistent with BSE-related clinical signs. Let me translate that for you. The same people who kept telling you the meat was safe are now saying that 251,000 cows may have died of BSE in one year; 251,000. This information is available to you at

They announced this new program not out of concern for the safety of the citizenry but because of pressure put on them by the government, the consumer, and by our export partners Japan and South Korea. Dr. DeHaven states that it’s not for safety but to determine prevalence. That's what they were doing when all those poor people ate that mad cow in December. I don't want to learn about prevalence while I eat contaminated beef. I want the USDA to start testing the beef I'm eating and kids are eating right now. Today.

They say they will test 201,000 sick cows and 20,000 old cows. This is called scientific statistical testing. Dr. DeHaven says that if there are five sick cows in the country this method will find them. More hogwash.

Let me explain statistical sampling. Let's say you have a football stadium full of people. You bring out one person and test him for a highly communicable disease. If he passes you say everybody in the stadium is presumed healthy. That's statistical testing. It is obvious even to me that statistical testing only works for BSE screening if by some fluke you happen to get a sample from a sick cow. If you have 100 cows lined up and the first five are sick but you only test the last five, you are not going to find any sick cows. Period.

These people need to stop messing around with science they understand and start allowing the professional beef producers to test their own beef. Dr. DeHaven also pointed out that the USDA thinks it will find the prevalence of this disease to be very low. "But keep it in perspective," he said. USDA says it anticipates some positive results at the initial screening level. "Keep in mind there may be false positives," Dr. DeHaven said. Translation in my mind: If we find any positives, we will try to cover it up or deny them at every opportunity.

These people have compromised their integrity through their calculated deception, and now there is no way I'm going to believe a single word they say. Here is another shocker for you: They are still allowing blood and gelatin into the feed supply. The interim rules they announced were just suggestions because feeding the cows blood was not safe. The actual rules will not be ready for "a few months." Not to mention all the mountains of contaminated feed all ready on site. There is no way the ranchers are going to throw away feed they paid good money for. Would you?

Everything I have said here is easily verifiable.

Take care,