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.
We serve a diverse audience of
readers engaged in regenerative, organic and sustainable
agriculture at many levels for many reasons. We want
to hear from you about the issues that are important
to your life and work, and your vision for agriculture
that builds a strong future.
We run selected comments from
readers in this space. Please tell us who you are, with
name, address and phone number for verification. Sending
correspondence to us conveys a right to us to publish
it as is, or in a form edited for length and/or style.
Opinions expressed in this space do not necessarily
represent the perspective of The New Farm® or The
If you have something important
to say about agriculture in a sustainable global food
system, please -- speak
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
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
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.