The Unadulterated Insanity at USDA Must Stop! Call for Veneman's Dismissal

"Why the USDA hasn't slammed the borders shut to the importation of Canadian ... beef ... is ... an insult to every rancher and every consumer in this country."


January 6, 2004


By Tom F. Spencer

Circle T Cattle Company 


Pueblo, Colorado


The unadulterated insanity at USDA has to stop. The notion that the events in Washington State have linked the U.S. and Canada together in some sort of "North American" problem -- and that we must seek "North American" solutions -- is outrageous and bodes an economic disaster for U.S. cattle producers.

During the past two years -- particularly during the past twelve months -- Ms. Veneman has received extensive warnings from the scientific community about the potential emergence of BSE in the U.S.

Their repeated suggestions for increased surveillance and better screening fell on deaf ears.

Now that BSE has been uncovered in a Canadian cow on U.S. soil, Ms. Veneman is suddenly spurred to do what should've been done months, if not years, ago.

The reality of the situation is this: Canada has a BSE problem.

In fact, as I see it, they now have two cases of BSE.

Why it took so long for USDA to come forward with the facts is reprehensible and their bungling ineptness has cost the U.S. cattle industry millions upon millions of dollars.

Their stalling tactics with the truth prove beyond a shadow of a doubt their maligned loyalties to agribusiness and big corporate money.

Why the USDA hasn't slammed the borders shut to the importation of Canadian boxed beef and raw or manufactured feed, which stands every chance of being contaminated, is beyond rational thinking and is an insult to every rancher and every consumer in this country.

USDA has refused to table their proposed rule to reopen U.S. borders, or even to extend the comment period.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA, which is these days so adept at issuing policy covered in layers of meanings, has done nothing but tow the USDA line as recent events have occurred, rather than taking a stand that demands putting U.S. cattle producers FIRST.

Every state cattlemen's association still affiliated with NCBA should go on notice that they're risking their grassroots memberships by remaining in the NCBA buggy.

I call on every rancher in the nation to become part of this process and make your position known.

If you can participate in the Washington, DC fly-in on January 20, 2004, put your hat on and do so!

It's abundantly clear that we're going to have to force USDA to "put America first."

I am calling for Ms. Veneman's immediate dismissal along with the rest of her senior staff.

Let's hope that when Congress goes back to work on January 20 they can find the guts to rein in an agency that's out of control and has been bought and paid for by international interests.

If Congress can't find the fortitude to take a stand against the Bush Administration and GOP leadership's collusion, incompetence and intentional disregard for an industry that is the backbone of this great nation then we need to make an immediate change in our political choices.


Ann Veneman:  or 202-720-3631