Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Maybe not so happy

This outgrew the comments section following this post. I was attempting to respond to Dennis at Moderate Republican, an interesting and very readable blog in its own right.

I'll save you the trip to the pop-up window, and begin here with Dennis' comment:

Ummm...I've read your blog for a while and like it, but I have to put my foot down. Canada had these measures and it didn't stop it from having a mad cow case. I would agree that we should institute better measures, but it's not like we didn't do anything. We did ban the use of feed with brain material back in '97, just as Canada did.

As I said, I agree to more safeguards and this might be a good opportunity to that. The USDA has issued a ban on using "downer" cows for one. But please don't resort to cheap anti-American jabs. I welcome constructive critiscism, but not this.

Still a great blog though and I mean that.
Okay, so I quoted it for the criticism, and nerely missed the praise. I'm such a negative Nelly. Just ask my co-workers, family members, friends, or intimate partners. Naturally, I started writing:

I haven't responded so much to my comments section in I don't know how long - a New Year's resolution may be in order.

I was very heartened to hear the downer animal slaughter restriction introduced today. It may have happened before I wrote the entry, but I'm just not as minute-to-minute as I'd like. You know - job.

I think what both countries should take away from this experience, but neither seems to want to take away, are the dangers of high-production industrial farming to the food supply. I was perhaps too harsh, but the NYT article scared me. I considered the possibility, upon reflection, that one could write similar articles about the Canadian beef industry, but that our reporters were seized by an irrational nationalism - which may explain the degree of consumer heroics Canadian farmers saw over the summer and fall.

I need to read and then write more about this. Industrial farming has done so much damage to our small rural communities, to the water supply, to the environment in general, and to the safety of our food supply that I owe it to myself to give it more time and thought. Both our governments are too ready to trust the industrial farm lobbyists.

I stand by the barn door comment, however. The technology exists to track every calf on the continent born from today forward. That needs to be mandatory on both sides of the border if we want to fully reintegrate the industry. I also stand by my desire to see the American beef and dairy industry clean up their act with regards to practices like scraping the spines clean, or the feeding of blood to calves, and to the extent that the concerns raised in the NYT article hold true for the Canadian industry, I am even more desirous. But that brings me to the missing link in my post, and my too-emotional reaction to the NYT article. Notwithstanding the tracking issue, the Canadian cattle industry may be committing the same dangerous practices as the American industry, and perhaps more. I can't imagine any farmer on either side of the border with a few hundred head being so irresponsible.

I spent the summer listening to my friends and neighbours ready to kill their mothers if it would get the border opened to their herds faster. I don't want to see another case of BSE on either side of the border, or even worse, a case of CJD from a hot dog that was scraped a little too close to the spine. The former would slow the industry's recovery to a crawl, and the latter would very nearly finish off those friends and neighbours.

This afternoon, while I wrote the initial post, I had a "Get Your War On" moment in my head. All I really wanted to write was "We need to take this shit seriously. I don't want my Burger King drive-thru to cause my brain to fucking melt."

Goddamn it, there go the child protection filters.

Anyway, repressing that, it turned instead into a more nationalistic screed than absolutely necessary. You're right, and I apologise. But if I find out that all I'm getting from the Canadian industry is tasty free-range ass meat, I might have to take the apology back. My point is, I'm really not sure, and I probably should be.

Thanks for the otherwise kind comments - the number of moderate-right types that seem to enjoy my stuff encourages me. And now that I know about your blog, I'll certainly be reading it right back.
Update: The new American ban on use of central nervous system materials is virtually the same as the Canadian ban. Still not complete enough (no feeding to humans or ruminants, but no ban on other use), but the same.

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