Back in 1998, a few Texas cattlemen, led by billionaire Paul Engler, owner of Cactus Feeders, Inc., filed suit against Howard Lyman, Oprah Winfrey, and Harpo Productions. The lawsuit alleged Howard Lyman and Oprah Winfrey had violated a Texas law which forbids someone from "knowingly making false statements" about agricultural business. The cattlemen alleged that Oprah and Lyman were responsible for the decline in beef futures.
Howard and Oprah had discussed the threat of e-Coli and Mad Cow Disease and Howard suggested that it was only a matter of time until Mad Cow Disease appeared in the United States.
The cattlemen lost their suit but scoffed at, and publicly dismissed any suggestion that Mad Cow disease could occur in the United States.
On December 23, 2003, Howard’s prediction was revealed to have come true. The first case of a cow, a Holstein suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy was discovered from an animal originating from a farm near Yakima, Washington.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said the slaughtered cow was screened earlier this month and any diseased parts were removed before they could enter the food supply and infect humans.
"There is no risk to consumers based upon the product that came from this animal," said Terry Stokes, chief executive of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Reading between the lines, it appears that meat from the cow did get released to the public. Veneman said that "diseased parts" were removed. Stoke’s statement admits to the fact that meat from the cow in question entered the marketplace.
There is no explanation as to why any meat from an infected cow was apparently sent to market.
The Agriculture Secretary also said that there was no possibility of any human being infected.
This statement has no credibility.
In 2003, only 20,526 cows were tested for Mad Cow disease.
Millions of cattle were slaughtered and sent to market in 2003
Alisa Harrison, an Agricultural department spokeswoman, said downer cattle that show signs of mad cow disease when they reach the slaughterhouse are tested for the illness.
Congressman Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., said such cows shouldn’t be in the food supply in the first place. The Senate passed such a ban earlier this year, but it failed to make it through the House.
"I blame it on greed, greed, greed," Ackerman said. "The greed of the industry, the greed of the lobbyists and the greed of the members of Congress."
An estimated 130,000 downed cattle are slaughtered each year, yet only 20,526 cows in total were tested nationwide.
This means that there is a real possibility that meat infected with the lethal prion may be circulating in the American market place. Secretary Veneman reacted to the revelation with the politically predictable statement that "We see no reason for people to alter their eating habits, I plan to serve beef for my Christmas dinner."
This is a rather ominous statement considering her counterpart in the British government over a decade ago said the exact same thing. In the years that followed over 153 people died from Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease. Howard Lyman predicted this outbreak years ago. Perhaps now the public might pay more attention to this Montana rancher turned vegan. He knows that of which he speaks.
Paul Watson is the founder of Sea Sheperd.