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March 07, 2003
Random thoughts

Random thoughts

Now Hightower is going on about "organochlorides." I had to go look them up online and the first thing I found was that they are, as he said, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and consequently dangerous to pump into our environment. The next thing I learned was that if I lived in the southeast of the USofA, I'd be worried about dangerous concentrations in my neighbourhood.

Still, I have my doubts about this book.

I mean, I was reading along with interest, having little more to complain about than that these chapters sometimes seem to contain dated material but thinking that maybe they're reprinted columns and should have had original publication dates on them or something, until I ran into the chapter where he talks specifically about bovine spongiform encephalopathy. (Try saying it out loud. There's a reason everyone calls it BSE or "mad cow disease," okay?)

Anyhow, I don't believe the part where he claims that ranchers and the FDA are in some kind of conspiracy to keep it secret that a form of BSE is loose and running wild in the cattle herds of the USofA. Or maybe he's claiming that it's possible that such a thing is happening. With his rhetoric, it can be difficult to know.

Still, he went over the line on this one. Can't be true.

Ranchers, even those who own big ranches or multiple ranches, are very simple people.

They raise cows. When they send the cows off to feed lots or slaughter houses, they get paid for the cows.

People eat the meat.

More meat is needed.

Ranchers raise more cows and send them off.

They get money.

Understand that the moment BSE breaks out in the USofA, not only will the entire "batch" of meat responsible be recalled, but every, single cow that rancher owns will be killed. (And probably the cows on neighbouring ranches.)

And no one gets paid. Ranchers go bankrupt. They lose their land.

Also? People freak out and instantly stop eating beef. One contaminated steak that finds its way onto the plate of one consumer means the end of every rancher in this country and the collapse of a major industry with collateral damage to the dairy industry.

And Hightower wants me to believe that out of carelessness or laziness, they're going to let this happen?


Forget altruism, okay? Sheer human greed...the desire to stay in business, make money, and (not incidentally) keep possession of a ranch that's probably been in their family for a hundred years or more would prevent this scenario, even if pride in what they do (and ranchers do possess that pride in abundance, believe me) didn't.

I'd like to know where Hightower got the information for this article but until I see something resembling proof, I'm going to have to say this one is mostly hot air and mirrors.(*)

Now I'm concerned, though. If he's as far off as I feel he is on this one subject, what about everything else I've read?

I don't have time to research every one of the approximately 45 essays in this book! Sheesh. I do have a life, okay?

( * In the interests of full disclosure (Look! My first disclosure!), I'm related to someone who works in the beef industry. Not a rancher, though.)

Posted by AnneZook at 10:46 PM