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ジョハンズ米農務長官の嘘

Photo_4 もっこうばらです。

_079_3  愛らしい花ですが、小さなクリーム色の花なので、我が家の庭ではあまり目立ちません。

 

 外出する車の中でラジオのニュースを聞いていると、ジョハンズ米農務長官は2日にジュネーブで開いた日米農相会談で、検査頭数を縮小する方針を中川昭一農相に伝えたらしい。

 先月28日の電話会見では、米農務省が04年6月から実施してきた牛海綿状脳症(BSE)の拡大検査の結果を発表し、「米国でのBSEの発生率は極めて低い」と結論づけたというのがその理由。

 嘘でしょー、とおもわずつぶやく。

  以前にもお伝えしましたが、コネチカット選出の下院議員ローザ・デラウドさんが、

 相当数の高リスク牛(へたれ牛)が(検査前の段階で)屠殺場にもレンダリング工場にも送られずに、国中の牧場や農場で埋め立て処分されている、という証言がレンダリング業者から出ていること、

 そのために牧草地が異常プリオンに汚染される結果を招くのではないか

と懸念されることを述べているのは、2005年6月29日付の、ジョハンズ農務長官宛の書簡の中です。

 長官が知らないわけありませんよね。

 参考のため以下にその書翰のコピーを載せました。青地の部分が問題の箇所です。

June 29, 2005

The Honorable Mike Johanns

Secretary

U. S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Secretary Johanns:

I write to you to indicate how concerned I am about the Department’s credibility following the latest Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) testing debacle, and to raise additional concerns about Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) performance and leadership. Unfortunately, these technological and scientific lapses can lead to a loss of confidence – not only in your management of BSE – but also in the capacity of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to carry out its responsibilities to protect us from influenza outbreaks, and other zoonotic diseases.

To be clear, it is my understanding that without the intervention of the Inspector General (IG) we would never have known that an older beef animal, first tested over six months ago, was carrying BSE. General Fong is to be commended for her persistence and thoroughness in following her investigation, without which we would not have known that USDA was using a faulty scientific testing protocol, and indeed had run an “experimental” IHC test that showed the animal to be positive back in the fall. And we certainly might not have learned that the animal, whose herd affinity is very critical to seeking out and destroying other BSE carrier animals, had been so intermixed with non-positive animals that only DNA could be used to make a potential herd identification.

In April I wrote to you about failings in the APHIS Surveillance Program. Unfortunately, I believe that this incident presents a picture of deteriorated management at APHIS more clearly than in April. In addition, I have recently heard from professionals in the rendering industry who tell me that significant numbers of high risk animals are definitely not being presented either for slaughter or for rendering, leading to a call from them for immediate regulation of on-farm land filling to prevent prions from becoming endemic in pasture on which cattle would be grazed in the future. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that the high-risk animals, claimed by APHIS to be covered by its Surveillance Program, are really being disposed of on ranches and farms across the country.

A well-managed program for BSE identification and eradication would consist of:

  • the use of the best technology and testing protocols for suspect animals and for a mandatory, statistically valid surveillance program,
  • followed up by the best review of any presumptive positive tests – even if they have to be sent to another country;
  • a national animal identification program capable of retrieving data about and finding animals within 48 hours of a triggering incident;
  • an effective and thorough feed ban plan and enforcement of that plan to prevent cattle tissue from being included in cattle feed; and,
  • enforced slaughter procedures complete with a whistleblower protection for inspectors who observe and report violations of the Specified Risk Materials (SRM) procedures.
  • immediately speak with Secretary Leavitt to request him to move FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine quickly to fulfill its initial commitment to ban cattle blood, poultry litter and plate waste from the feed supply and move to a species specific segregated feed manufacturing system;
  • move the USDA timetable for a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) capable of 48 hour tracing of cattle movement and location – to be followed by other species; and
  • renew the focus on support for slaughter inspectors to assure the public that Specified Risk Materials (SRMs) are consistently being removed from the meat supply.

  • Mr. Secretary, my April letter only identified the tip of the iceberg of problems in BSE management in USDA. Now you must move promptly to ensure that there are no more significant omissions and failures as we go forward.

    Sincerely,

    Rosa L. DeLauro

    Ranking Member,

    House Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations

  • Frankly not one of those criteria is being met at the moment. I understand you have taken a few steps to implement improvements in some of these areas. Others, like the feed ban improvements do not fall under USDA’s authorities, yet APHIS managers are touting the effectiveness of the feed ban.

    However, this is a matter for the Cabinet to address to protect our public health and the economic health of one of our largest industries. When you testified before our subcommittee in February, I asked you if you intended to work with Secretary Leavitt to protect the food supply. This is an immediate opportunity for you to do so.

    I urge you to:

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