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Washington, D.C. - Statement of Nasima Hossain, U.S. PIRG Public Health Advocate, on the identification of a dairy cow in California with Mad Cow Disease and cuts to the APHIS Program.
In response to media today on a dairy cow randomly tested by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in California as part of their testing program and found to have Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow’s disease.
“With the identification of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy in California yesterday, the cuts that the USDA want to make in the APHIS program may not be prudent. At present APHIS tests only 40,000 animals randomly across nation for (BSE) and pathogens, yet the cattle industry in America currently has over 98 million cattle and calves across the country. The USDA has requested for the FY 2013 Budget $765.6 million for APHIS a net decrease of $54.1 million from FY 2012 and plans to shut down 15 APHIS offices in 11 states and 5 APHIS offices in 5 foreign countries.
In view of this case and the fact that we cannot be sure be that this is an isolated incident, the USDA should be expanding the APHIS program and conducting more random sampling of our cattle to ensure the beef on our dinner tables and milk we and our children drink is safe.”
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