Thursday, March 04, 2004

a day without meat is a day without sunshine

Relentless optimism is sickening, and I'm exhausted by yesterday's attempt to write in complete sentences, so even though the sun is still shining, I return to cryptic proclamations of bad things:

Fall guy time:

The government has begun a criminal investigation into whether documents were falsified in the lone case of mad cow disease found in the United States, the Agriculture Department's inspector general said yesterday.
[NYT | meatingplace] Totally unrelated to the email Dave Louthan sent out on Monday:
[AMI CEO] Patrick demands Ann Veneman declare Canada a low risk country even though they have had a couple of mad cows already. She will do that. All those cows will start coming down here in droves.

J. Patrick will demand the U.S. Gov't start punishing all the countries that refuse our meat with trade embargoes, high tariffs and with holding of foreign aid. Mexico and some of the smaller countries will cave in to pressure. Japan and South Korea will not.

There will be a huge surplus of fat cattle waiting to be slaughtered. Prices will continue to plummet. All the smaller feedlots will go under right away. They will demand subsidies. The American taxpayer, you, will pick that up. The Gov't is already broke. George W. spent all the money beating up Saddam. Higher taxes will be necessary.

And in GM food news, UCS released another report demonstrating the fait accompli of GM material in supposedly non-modified foods [cf. the Ecological Society of America's position paper]. They are hammering it from the biopharming angle, which is smart, because there has never been any evidence that the crop trait genes currently in use have any affect on human health. Of course, there is some question about what happens in the long term, a freshly revivified source of anxiety thanks to this crazy research -- which recieved absolutely no press coverage, as far as I can tell. And then there is some serious shit going down in the Phillipines right now:
For the first time there are indications that the pollen from the bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) maize sown here last year may have contributed to human illness.

Terje Traavik, the scientific director of the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, who was asked last October to analyse blood samples from 39 of the 100 people who fell ill, has said that a link might exist between GM crops and human health.

"My interpretation is there is a coincidence in time between two different phenomena," he said. However, he stressed that more tests were needed before a definite conclusion could be drawn.

Traavik is understated for good reason -- it is almost literally unbelievable that we could plant 12.2 million hectares of Bt crops and not notice a problem until now. [However, given the incredible complexities of all the potential environmental interactions that we don't understand, it is entirely plausible that this is a novel event]. Naturally, the usual suspects are attacking him for making such a modest announcement before publishing a peer-reviewed article. These people are rabid.

And some NAFTA thing is releasing their report on Mexican corn 3/11, which will apparently determine what the government does. I'm not holding my breath:

"We are not convinced about the information in this report," said Miguel Ramirez Dominguez, head of the village of Capulalpan, where Olga Maldonado lives. The villages have banded together to form their own lab, which has thus far tested 90 corn varieties from around Mexico. So far, 25 percent have come back positive for altered genes.

"We want answers," he said.


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