Huge Calf Slaughter planned to boost prices
The way is paved for mad cows to fuel Britain
BSE Voluntary Ban Having Little Effect on Producers

Huge Calf Slaughter planned to boost prices

Daily Telegraph Wednesday July 24 1996
By Toby Helm, EU Correspondent, and Charles Clover

Mr Fischler also proposed yesterday that 600,000 newborn calves be slaughtered as part of a plan to limit the amount of beef coming on to the market. The plan to kill calves at the age of 10 days would cost around 80 million pounds in additional compensation to farmers.

The Commission is worried that the amount of beef on the market at a time when prices are still falling across Europe could soon cause a beef mountain approaching the record levels of 1993. Because of changes in world trade rules, surplus beef cannot be sold on cheaply in foreign markets.

The way is paved for mad cows to fuel Britain

Daily Telegraph ... Wednesday July 24 1996
by ALICE MILES Political Staff

MINISTERS today paved the way for a radical new solution to the problem of a growing mountain of cattle carcasses, cow power. The Government announced details of the changes in the regulations required to allow electricity power stations to use the bodies of slaughtered cattle as fuel. At the same time, it revealed changes to the clean air rules which would be needed to enable the scheme to go ahead.

A number of power stations have already been given the go-ahead to test whether the plan is workable. The initial results have encouraged ministers to take the next step. The scheme, which will require approval by Parliament in the autumn, uses the rendered down meat and bone of cattle slaughtered following the mad cow scare. The numbers are already running at more than 15,000 a week, too much for the existing incinerators to cope with. Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg and President of the Board of Trade Ian Lang were keen to avoid the prospect of thousands of carcasses being buried.

Todays announcement, in a written Commons reply from Mr Lang, makes clear that it has still not been finally proved that cow fuel is feasible on a large scale. The fact, however, that the necessary arrangements are being put in place was a clear signal that the Government believes it can work. The decision raises the prospect of Britains toasters and ovens being fuelled by beef carcasses.

It came as Mr Hogg, on another front, announced measures to reassure the public that lamb is safe to eat, following an EU warning over research showing that BSE could theoretically be transmitted to sheep. In a statement to the Commons, Mr Hogg said scientists on the Governments Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee had advised that the brains of sheep over six months old should no longer be eaten. Ministry of Agriculture sources stressed this was a "super-precautionary measure".

The announcement came as John Major said he would continue to eat lamb chops. "I am very fond of lamb chops and I shall be continuing to eat them, and I hope you will," the Prime Minister told GMTV. "This isn't British sheep, the EU announcement covers sheep right across the European Union and is purely a precautionary announcement." The European Commission is set to order its own safety measures after EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler published research findings and asked EU scientific and veterinary experts to study proposals to remove the brains and nervous tissue of sheep from the human food chain. Most butchers already remove the spinal cord, brain and spleen in sheep.

BSE Voluntary Ban Having Little Effect on Producers

Agri-View, 5/23/96 by Joel McNair

From "Texans still mad about their beef," 4/4/96 (Reuters): "Rendering company Darling International Inc. of Irving, Texas, for example, saw its stock price drop briefly but said business was unaffected after cattlemen approved a voluntary ban on feed that includes processed animal byproducts, a company spokesman said." :

"Livestock and veterinary groups don't appear to be drawing many Wisconsin volunteers to the public relations war against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

"Dairy industry officials say they've seen almost no change in dairy cow rations since the British 'mad cow' scare of late March and early April. Renderers report that any initial losses in ruminant protein sales due to the publicity have since been recaptured. Indeed, meat-and-bone meal sales volumes appear to have risen in recent weeks as dairy farmers cope with rising soymeal prices....

"'The voluntary ban is not particularly realistic,' says Randy Shaver, a dairy scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.... "Sales were cut in half during the first week of the hullabaloo, says Mike Langenhorst, executive vice-president for Anamax, in Green Bay. The losses were particularly great in the company's dairy business. But Langenhorst says Anamax regained half those losses the following week, and local sales of dairy feed are actually a bit higher than before the crisis.

"'Basically, we're sold out,' adds Ken Cross, district manager for National By-Products, Inc., Berlin. 'Sales don't seem to have been affected.'... "Meat-and-bone meal sales have been aided by rising soymeal prices and farmers' skepticism of the BSE issue.... "Scott Gunderson, Extension dairy agent in Manitowoc County...says he isn't aware of anyone leaving the animal proteins because of the voluntary ban. "Says Gunderson, 'Until (the ban) becomes mandatory, I don't see that changing.'

"Shaver largely agrees with that view. At the normal price relationship, he says, a dairy farmer substituting soymeal for meat-and-bone meal in a typical ration spends about a nickel more per cow per day. ... For a 100-cow herd, the difference works out to about $1,500 a year. While Shaver notes that this won't cause the dairyman to lose his farm, it's enough to make a dairyman reluctant to abandon the animal feed -- especially since he knows his neighbors are probably using it.

"Shaver thus does not expect any major changes in feeding practices until farmers get some sort of edict from the federal government. 'A lot of people are waiting for the shoe to drop from the FDA,' he notes."

Finally, with respect to a previous, DIFFERENT voluntary ban announced on feeding of rendered SHEEP to cattle in 1991, here's part of an article titled "CVM Recommends Restricting Use of Rendered Adult Sheep," from "Food Chemical News," 3/15/93:

"The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has recommended that a regulation be drafted to restrict the use of rendered adult sheep proteins in cattle feed....

"The CVM recommendation was made at the conclusion of 24 sheep rendering facilities conducted by FDA inspectors in November and December, 1992. The survey found that six of 15 renderers processing adult sheep are selling rendered protein by-products to cattle feed producers, despite a voluntary ban on such practices by the National Renderers Association and the Animal Protein Producers Institute. But, despite the findings, the survey concluded that the risk of a BSE outbreak in the U.S. remains very small."

CVM's conclusion is, of course, no surprise to anyone who has followed this issue for more than 15 minutes. I wish some committee would produce a list of synonyms to be used in future news releases, so we can at least see some linguistic variety. Instead of saying the risk is "very small," why not say it's "eensie-weensie"? How about "teeny-weenie" or "itty-bitty"? These adjectives are as meaningful as "very small" or "vanishingly small," and they have the additional virtue that they don't mislead the public into thinking they refer to something that has been scientifically measured.