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Good piece of analysis over on about how testimony from a Washington State slaughterhouse employee suggests that consumers may not have gotten the whole story about the first discovery of mad cow disease on US soil - and that, in fact, finding it may have been more of a fluke than an example of the system working the way it should.

David Louthan, who said he is the man who killed the infected cow, told the Washington State House and Senate Agriculture committees that the actual events transpired as follows:

  • The infected cow was not killed because it was a "downer" and unable to stand, which is an indication that the animal may be infected. Rather, he said it was killed because it was acting wild, which ordinarily would not have led to testing for mad cow disease. In fact, the US does not require testing of all "downer" cows.

  • Louthan also said that the only reason the cow was tested was because he killed it outside, not inside the slaughterhouse; plant rules say that all animals killed outside have to be tested. He also said that the only reason he killed the animal outside was that he "was in a hurry" and wanted to make sure the cow didn't trample other animals.

USDA spokesman Steven Cohen disputed Louthan's version. While nobody is coming right out and saying it, the implication seems to be that he is a disenchanted former employee looking to cause trouble.

For further analysis of this story, go to:
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