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No Littering
– by Lee Pitts

You have to be a full-blown optimist to have detected any good news in the announcement of this country´s third mad cow in Alabama. But the good news was there, buried deep inside the New York Times instead of on the front page. In most metropolitan daily newspapers you had to really be looking hard to find the news blurb about the most recent bovine to join the mad cow fraternity. And those consumers that did read the story seemed to have taken little notice and went right back to eating their burgers and steaks. The good news is that mad cow is old news.

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Diary of a Mad Cow
– by Lee Pitts

In a recent letter to its members the NCBA explained why ranchers have enjoyed good times the past couple years. "Economists around this country agree that the cattle prices we have experienced for many months now, prices that began to climb before the Canadian border closure, is the result of two things: tremendous growth in consumer demand and the cattle cycle. A trade association can do little if nothing to affect the cattle cycle, but when it comes to beef demand it is clear the checkoff-funded efforts, many of which are managed by NCBA, have contributed considerably to increasing demand, which is defined as consumers´ willingness to pay increasing prices even as supplies increase. Again, through the leadership of cattlemen, NCBA is the association that gets it done for you."

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A Race To The Bottom
– by Lee Pitts

A publisher in a prominent western livestock newspaper suggests that we should not be celebrating R-CALF´s victory to keep the Canadian border closed because of the damage it will do to packers. He says we´re all in this together. In the same boat, so to speak. And when one end of the boat sinks the other will too. He says that the packers and large feeders have the same goals as ranchers, to which we say . . . horse pucky! Their goals could not be more opposite. The packers and their strategically aligned feeders want to buy your cattle as cheap as they can and you, no doubt, want to sell them as high as you can. Do those sound like common goals to you? No, this is a war and the packers were winning, cruising along in their armor plated battleships, while ranchers were paddling upstream against heavy winds in kayaks and canoes.

And then along came a mad cow and R-CALF.

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How Now, Mad Cow?
— by Lee Pitts

All the recent media attention regarding Mad Cow Disease has raised some interesting questions. Such as...

Mad Cow Disease and been around for 15 years yet animal industries around the globe have used meat and bone meal as a feed ingredient since World War II. Why has BSE waited until now to raise its ugly head?

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Political Science
— by Lee Pitts

On her way out the door to take a job with the UN´s UNICEF, Outgoing Ag Secretary Ann Veneman said she saw no reason to delay reopening the U.S. border to Canadian cattle. "Unless the investigation turns up something that is drastically different than the assumptions that were made in putting together the rule, I wouldn´t see a reason to change it," she said.

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