Pretty sweet, despite discovering a BSE infected cow this week the administration's reducing funding for one of the testing programs:
The Agriculture Department is drawing plans to scale down its mad cow surveillance program that found two of the three U.S. cases of the disease, including one this week, two USDA officials said on Wednesday.
In addition, they said USDA would rely on private-sector incentives to inspire producers to join a separate cattle tracking system to track down suspect animals in future outbreaks of livestock diseases.
How awesome is that, going the classic "private-sector incentives" route. Although they're chopping funding it's still going to be double 2003 levels:
- 2003 - 55 animals tested daily
- Present - 1000 animals tested daily
- Current Budget - 110 animals tested daily
The spin is that they're more interested in preventing its occurence rather than tracking how many diseased cows are out there but seems pretty much regular Bush administration SOP.
On another amusing note, traditional Republican values like private incentives and states rights seem to be given nothing more than lip service as shown in the Consumer's article linked above:
Last July, the state of Montana said it would test Canadian cattle entering the state in an effort to protect against mad cow disease and protect the business integrity of the Montana cattle industry. The USDA opposed Montana's test, saying that Montana does not have the authority to conduct such a testing or to collect a fee for the test, Reuters reported last year.
Creekstone Farms in Kansas tests each and every head of cattle intended for Asian markets. But the USDA is blocking the beef producer, saying that only the government is authorized to conduct mad cow tests, Los Angels Times reported today.