Agriculture department seeks to tag all West Virginia cattle
(Note: Names in the article below that are highlighted have contact information immediately following the article. This is where mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, or COOL, would eliminate such concerns by state agriculture departments. Additional contact information to learn more about COOL is supplied below. Please share this article/information with ranchers, farmers, Farm Bureau, 4H, FFA, your local/state Health Department, Fair Board, all savvy/concerned consumers, and your local/state Agriculture Department. We can do something to be sure that BSE does not become an American resident nightmare -- mandatory COOL!  
June 13, 2005
By Drew Smith or 304-348-4819
Charleston Daily Mail staff writer
Charleston, West Virginia
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The state Department of Agriculture wants cattle across the state fitted with radio identification ear tags in an effort to monitor their whereabouts.

"We're mainly preparing ourselves for an outbreak of mad cow disease," said Buddy Davidson, the agency's communications officer.

Davidson said the advantage of ear tags is that they enable animals to be traced more rapidly.

Mad cow is a fatal degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of adult cattle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has diagnosed only one case of the disease in the United States. The infected animal was a dairy cow in Washington state in December 2003. It was purchased from a farm in Canada in 2001.

One American has contracted Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, the disease associated with eating beef infected with mad cow. The young woman contracted the disease after living in the UK.

A cow's milk can't be infected with the disease, even if the cow is. But West Virginia officials want to be prepared.

In the event of an outbreak, an infected herd could be found in 48 hours with ear tags.

This would be a considerable improvement over the two weeks it took to locate an infected dairy cow in the state of Washington.

Davidson said every farm and slaughterhouse in West Virginia will have an ID number. Wherever the cattle go, they'll be scanned and that number will be recorded electronically, Davidson added.

"We'll be able to track every movement of all the cattle in the state," he said.

The numbers will be part of a state database that eventually will be part of a national database.

Participation by farmers is voluntary. Most identify their cattle today with plastic tags or branding and the new system would require them to purchase the radio ear tags.

Reagan Simms-Rodgers, competition exhibits coordinator for the West Virginia State Fair, said the program is in the farmers' best interests.

"Farmers know that their finished product eventually ends up on the dinner table," she said. "So they should be very concerned about its quality."

Rodgers also said farmers should be proactive because of national security concerns.

"Americans want to know that their food supply is safe from contamination and this program will help assure that," she said.

West Virginia is leading the nation in the registration effort, Davidson said.

Authorities have registered almost half the beef farmers in the state and there are 5,000 left to go, Davidson said.

Davidson said the state fair in August is a good time for farmers to get an ID number.

Dr. Warren J. Charminski, director of the Meat and Poultry Division of the Department of Agriculture, doesn't agree with the benefits of the system.

He said most slaughterhouses in West Virginia get their cattle from farms within a 50-mile radius.

"This makes the cattle fairly easy to track and makes an elaborate tagging system unnecessary for them," Charminski said.

Copyright 2005, The Charleston Daily Mail.
Additional researched, recommended reading:
Contact Reagan Simms-Rodgers, Competition exhibits coordinator
The West Virginia State Fair
Fairlea, West Virginia 24901
Fax: 304-645-6660
Contact Dr. Warren J. Charminski, Director
Meat and Poultry Division, West Virginia Department of Agriculture
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, E.

Charleston, WV 25305

Fax: 304-558-1882
Contact Buddy Davidson, Communications Officer 
West Virginia Department of Agriculture
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, E.

Charleston, WV 25305
304-361-9484 pager
Fax: 304-558-3131
Contact Bill Bullard or Jenni Ries
R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund)
P.O. Box 30715
Billings, MT 59107
Fax: 406-252-3176
Contact Carrie Longwood
The South Dakota Stock Growers Association (SDSGA)
426 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701
Fax: 605-342-0463
For more on this and other property rights / resource providing topics, please visit these fine websites:
Property Rights Research
The Klamath Bucket Brigade
Klamath Basin Crisis
The Organization for Competitive Markets
The TNC Connection
The Derry Brownfield Show / The Common Sense Coalition