March 5, 2010
Whistleblower Testifies Against USDA
Dr. Dean Wyatt says the USDA retaliated against him for trying to enforce the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
“Food integrity and humane handling whistleblowers should not have to rely on an undercover video investigation in order for USDA supervisors to take their disclosures seriously.”—Dr. Wyatt
In testimony before a House subcommittee hearing on March 4, Dr. Dean Wyatt, public health veterinarian for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA, expressed frustration about the USDA’s lack of support for inspectors who are “just trying to do their job” to protect animal welfare and food safety.
In his testimony, Dr. Wyatt said USDA officials not only overturned his recommendations, siding with slaughter plants in violation of federal law, but also personally retaliated against him for trying to enforce the law. Dr. Wyatt, who has been with the USDA for 18 years, was reprimanded and threatened with termination by his supervisors after reporting repeated violations of the USDA’s Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA).
Wyatt spoke about suspending operations at the Bushway Packing slaughter plant in Vermont on three occasions for improper handling of animals; each time district officials for the Agency reopened the plant and allowed it to continue without addressing humane handling concerns. Violations included dragging a “downed” calf unable to stand off a truck by the hind leg and dragging a days-old calf through a holding pen. In another instance, Wyatt described an Agency official changing the wording in a written report to suggest an animal had been “dropped” rather than thrown off of a truck.
After an undercover video investigation was conducted by The HSUS at the Bushway Packing plant, the USDA closed the plant for violations of the HMSA. A criminal investigation into conduct at the slaughterhouse is underway.
Thursday’s hearing coincided with the release by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of a report that encouraged stronger enforcement of the HMSA. Specific recommendations included establishing “clear and specific” criteria for suspending plant operations; improving standards for compliance; and taking a closer look at noncompliance reports.
Under the HMSA, FSIS inspectors are charged with overseeing humane handling of animals and with conducting fecal contamination checks to prevent contaminated meat from entering the food supply. Animals too sick to stand or walk are prohibited from entering the food supply due to the potential threat of mad cow disease.
In 2008, an HSUS investigation into the processing of downed cows at the Hallmark Meat Packing slaughter plant in Chino, Calif. led the USDA to close the plant and recall 143 million pounds of beef. The Chino plant was the second largest supplier of beef to the nation’s school lunch program.
Stanley Painter, representing the union of government food inspection workers (National Joint Council of Food Inspection Local Unions), testified that he concurred with Dr. Wyatt’s assessment that the USDA did not provide adequate support or training for inspectors at the nation’s slaughter plants.
Speaking before the subcommittee, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said he was heartened by the new Administration’s willingness to take humane concerns seriously. He went on to say that slaughter plant violations are chronic: “Every time we have looked, we have found problems.”
Pacelle recommended that the USDA create its own mobile investigations unit and enforce a policy of “zero percent tolerance” for abuses and inhumane handling, citing the billions of animals and hundreds of millions of consumers who rely on the USDA for proper enforcement of the HMSA.
Pacelle also called on the USDA to close the loophole on downer calves. The Obama Administration closed the loophole on downer cows following The HSUS’s Hallmark investigation, but a loophole that applies to young animals still exists.
In his closing remarks, subcommittee chairman Dennis Kucinich thanked Dr. Wyatt for his public service and his courage to blow the whistle on the USDA, as well as The HSUS for sharing the results of its undercover investigations. Citing its conflicts of interest, Kucinich encouraged the USDA to do more to protect consumers and promised to continue to press for changes that will lead to greater consumer confidence in the USDA.
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: Actions Are Needed to Strengthen Enforcement.
GAO-10-203, February 19
OTHER WRITTEN PRODUCT
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: USDA Inspectors' Views on Enforcement (GAO-10-244SP), February 2010, an E-supplement to GAO-10-203.
GAO-10-244SP, February 19
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: Weaknesses in USDA Enforcement.
GAO-10-487T, March 4
How are cattle stunned?
In recent times cattle would be stunned by means of a gun, from which a bolt was driven through the skull and into the brain. This renders the animal unconscious. In some abattoirs, penetrative stunning would be followed by “pithing”. This involves passing a flexible rod through the hole in the skull, and down the spinal canal. It is, or was, done primarily to protect the operators responsible for bleeding the cattle. It did so by destroying spinal reflexes controlling the front limbs, and prevented reflex kicking. In larger abattoirs with greater mechanisation of procedures, more rapid stunning and bleeding operations frequently make this an unnecessary procedure. Smaller abattoirs, with greater dependence on manual labour, and slower speeds of operation, may still find pithing to be necessary. Pithing has actually been banned in Europe.
A variant of this method was used in some countries. In this method the flexible rod was replaced by the injection of air through the bolt and stun hole into the skull. This effectively pithed the animal. This is now illegal in the European Union.
An alternative form of stunning, called percussion stunning, applies the stun to the outside of the skull without penetrating the skull.
In some abattoirs electrical stunning is used. In other words the cattle may be electrocuted.
How can stunning increase risk to consumers from BSE?
There is some research evidence that suggests that penetrative stunning, with or without pithing, can cause some brain tissue to enter the blood stream. Although such a risk was demonstrated many years ago by artificially contaminating the stun bolt or pithing rod with bacteria, recent studies have specifically demonstrated trace amounts of brain material in the blood of some animals immediately following stunning(2-5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 21, 24).
The injection of air through the stun bolt has the potential to significantly increase the risk. Occasionally, samples of brain material, visible to the naked eye, have been identified lodged in tissues that receive blood after passing through the heart (usually lodged in lung or occasionally liver)(14, 15, 20, 27).
In these circumstances, the methods of stunning have the potential if used on BSE-infected animals, to drive some infectivity into the blood stream. The extent of contamination of the rest of the carcase by this means has not been demonstrated. As mentioned above, with the exception of extremely small particles of brain, most would become lodged in organs such as the lung.
Penetrative stunning also has the potential to expose the meat of the head (and indeed operators) to brain tissue that exudes from the hole, either on the pithing rod or subsequently after removal of the head.
Carriage of heads to specialist plants where the meat from the head is removed (boning-out plants) can compound the likelihood of contamination if several heads are in contact. Following removal of the head, leakage of cerebro-spinal fluid, which bathes the brain and has not been shown to be infectious in BSE cases, has the theoretical potential to cause further cross-contamination.
Is it only the stunning process that represents a risk?
No. In the majority of abattoirs it is normal practice to split the carcase in order make handling easier, and to supply traditional cuts of meats to the retail and manufacturing trade. This is also required to ensure that the whole carcase can be inspected to ensure that it is fit for human consumption. Splitting normally involves sawing the spinal column in half along its length. This also frequently cuts through the spinal cord. If the animal is infected with BSE, the spinal cord must be assumed to be as infectious as the brain(7, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22).
It is therefore inevitable that a certain amount of spinal cord tissue is spread along the cut surface of the spinal column by the saw. In addition there will be a certain amount of spray contamination of the surface of the carcase, but research into this aspect is ongoing(6, 11, 18, 25, 28).
14. Garland, T, Bauer, N. & Bailey, M.Jr. (1996). Brain emboli in the lungs of cattle after stunning (letter). Lancet. 348: 610.
15. Garland, Tam. (1996). Brain emboli in the lungs of cattle (reply to K C Taylor). Lancet. 348: 749.
20. Munro R. (1997). Neural tissue embolism in cattle. Veterinary Record. 140, N20, 536.
21. Prendergast, D.M., Sheridan, J.J., Daly, D.J., McDowell, D.A. & Blair, I.S. (2003). Dissemination of central nervous system tissue from the brain and spinal cord of cattle after captive bolt stunning and carcass splitting. Meat Science. 65:1201-1209.
27. Taylor, K.C. (1996). Brain emboli in the lungs of cattle. Lancet. 348: 749
WHY is it that some of you folks are more worried about animal abuse (which i do not condone), but yet you will allow your children, all across the Nation, be fed the most high risk cattle for mad cow disease and other dangerous pathogens via the NSLP. For over 4 years, dead stock downer cows were fed to our children all across the Nation. But yet it seems that most are more concerned about how the animals are treated before slaughter. What about our children ? WE apparently just turn our heads on a disease that is in THE USA, has been, still is, sCJD rising, this is disease is of long incubation, but yet once clinical, it is 100% fatal. who will watch our children over the next 5 decades for CJD, or does anyone care ?
The PrP TSE mad cow agent in humans can incubate up to 50+ years in some cases, in other cases, not so long. so, come back in 50+ years and confirm this. junk science, industry friendly regulations, and or just not complying with existing regulations have been rampant over the past 12 years I have been paying attention, it has been the norm. maybe sound science will prevail in the end, maybe not. but feeding children diseased and sick cows via the NSLP was flat wrong, and anyone that thinks the largest beef recall there from, was just because a few animals were abused, well, they too are just flat wrong as well. ...
WHO WILL WATCH THE CHILDREN FOR CJD OVER THE NEXT 5 + DECADES ???
Do you actually believe that the USDA et al jumped in on the law suit against Westland/Hallmark, at the time the largest beef recall in USA history, just because a few animals were abused on a video, or to cover their ass, for letting our children, from school district to school district, from state to state, be fed dead stock downer cows.
>>>In the papers, the government alleges the meatpacking plant slaughtered and processed downer cows for nearly four years — from January 2004 to September 2007 — at the average rate of one every six weeks... <<<
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Congress to Sample School Lunches
Do you actually believe all these schools recalled this meat because of a few cattle being abused,
see list ; FNS All Regions Affected School Food Authorities By State United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service National School Lunch Program March 24, 2008 School Food Authorities Affected by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. Beef Recall February 2006 - February 2008
IF url does not work above, go to this link to find out if any of your children and their school were part of this recall ; go to this site ;
left hand corner search ; Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. Beef Recall your should get this ;
1 through 1 of 1 matching documents, best matches first. sort by date 1: Hallmark - Westland SFA Reporting by State - 3-24-2008.xls Lunch Program March 24, 2008 School Food Authorities Affected by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. Beef Recall February 2006 - February 2008 The U.S. Department of Agriculture ...
PLEASE SEE ALSO ;
Members of The HSUS are also concerned about the meat products provided to their children through the National School Lunch Program. More than 31 million school children receive lunches through the program each school day. To assist states in providing healthful, low-cost or free meals, USDA provides states with various commodities including ground beef. As evidenced by the HallmarkNVestland investigation and recall, the potential for downed animals to make their way into the National School Lunch Program is neither speculative nor hypothetical.
Over the next 8-10 weeks, approximately 40% of all the adult mink on the farm died from TME. snip... The rancher was a ''dead stock'' feeder using mostly (>95%) downer or dead dairy cattle...
CJD USA RISING, with UNKNOWN PHENOTYPE ;
5 Includes 41 cases in which the diagnosis is pending, and 17 inconclusive cases; 6 Includes 46 cases with type determination pending in which the diagnosis of vCJD has been excluded.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Human Prion Diseases in the United States January 1, 2010 ***FINAL***
my comments to PLosone here ;
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Animal Proteins Prohibited in Ruminant Feed/Adulterated/Misbranded Rangen Inc 2/11/10 USA
Monday, March 1, 2010
ANIMAL PROTEIN I.E. MAD COW FEED IN COMMERCE A REVIEW 2010
14th ICID International Scientific Exchange Brochure -
Final Abstract Number: ISE.114
Session: International Scientific Exchange
Transmissible Spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) animal and human TSE in North America
update October 2009
Bacliff, TX, USA
An update on atypical BSE and other TSE in North America. Please remember, the typical U.K. c-BSE, the atypical l-BSE (BASE), and h-BSE have all been documented in North America, along with the typical scrapie's, and atypical Nor-98 Scrapie, and to date, 2 different strains of CWD, and also TME. All these TSE in different species have been rendered and fed to food producing animals for humans and animals in North America (TSE in cats and dogs ?), and that the trading of these TSEs via animals and products via the USA and Canada has been immense over the years, decades.
12 years independent research of available data
I propose that the current diagnostic criteria for human TSEs only enhances and helps the spreading of human TSE from the continued belief of the UKBSEnvCJD only theory in 2009. With all the science to date refuting it, to continue to validate this old myth, will only spread this TSE agent through a multitude of potential routes and sources i.e. consumption, medical i.e., surgical, blood, dental, endoscopy, optical, nutritional supplements, cosmetics etc.
I would like to submit a review of past CJD surveillance in the USA, and the urgent need to make all human TSE in the USA a reportable disease, in every state, of every age group, and to make this mandatory immediately without further delay. The ramifications of not doing so will only allow this agent to spread further in the medical, dental, surgical arena's. Restricting the reporting of CJD and or any human TSE is NOT scientific. Iatrogenic CJD knows NO age group, TSE knows no boundaries. I propose as with Aguzzi, Asante, Collinge, Caughey, Deslys, Dormont, Gibbs, Gajdusek, Ironside, Manuelidis, Marsh, et al and many more, that the world of TSE Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy is far from an exact science, but there is enough proven science to date that this myth should be put to rest once and for all, and that we move forward with a new classification for human and animal TSE that would properly identify the infected species, the source species, and then the route.
see page 114
International Society for Infectious Diseases Web: http://www.isid.org
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Human Prion Diseases in the United States January 1, 2010 ***FINAL***
my comments to PLosone here ;
Friday, February 05, 2010
New Variant Creutzfelt Jakob Disease case reports United States 2010 A Review
Sunday, February 14, 2010
[Docket No. FSIS-2006-0011] FSIS Harvard Risk Assessment of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Transmissible Spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) animal and human TSE in North America 14th
ICID International Scientific Exchange Brochure -
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
NOR-98 ATYPICAL SCRAPIE USA 4 CASES DETECTED JANUARY 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Fatal Transmissible Amyloid Encephalopathy: A New Type of Prion Disease Associated with Lack of Prion Protein Membrane Anchoring