I grew up outside of Grandview, Washington. My home was about 11 miles north of Mabton, now the source of the first suspected case of mad cow disease in the U.S. So I’ve been listening to the various NPR stories about the situation fairly intently. This is, after all, the biggest news to hit the Lower Yakima Valley since the Virgin Mary was spotted on the back of a street sign in Sunnyside.
After hearing and reading a number of reports, I noticed that there were several inconsistencies in the facts, at least as far as I understood them. The inconsistencies weren’t being addressed. It was reported that the infected cow was a “downer” (classy term, by the way), so it was sidetracked at the slaughter house. But it was a dairy cow, and would therefore not have been used for meat. Then at one point, part of the slaughtering process was described; the cow’s brain and spinal cord were removed and disposed of before the rest of the cow was processed. One glance at the Yakima Herald-Republic resolved everything: “[Washington State Deputy Director of Agriculture] Brookreson said ‘downer’ cows can legally be sold for human consumption and that Holsteins, primarily a dairy cow, are typically made into hamburger.”
Got it. Cows is cows.