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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Oct 6, 2005
Memo to the FDA: YOU ARE DUMB.
This isn't, for a change, about reproductive policy, although fuck knows it could be. It's bad enough that the FDA has been almost criminally-negligent in its politically motivated delays in the morning-after pill, and tried to retroactively pretend it hadn't nominated a male veterinatian as its new head of women's health issues, but I've just read the new proposed guidelines for preventing mad cow disease here, and I am fucking astonished.
I mean, I'm not some naive pollyanna about big agribusiness. I'm aware that a significant portion of the supermarket meat we eat is raised under hideous industrial conditions, fed things it's best not to think about, given chemicals and hormones and such, and frequently carved up by meth-addicted illegal immigrants. I know that the already ridiculous federal inspection system has been further undercut by Bush-era deregulation and enforcement budget cuts. But I thought that maybe, just maybe, at least some token measures were in place already in regards to mad cow disease.
Mad cow, or "bovine spongiform encephalopathy" to boring-ass scientists with no marketing sense, is a freakish brain disease cows get when they're fed the brains and spinal cords of other dead cows. Sometimes the disease spreads to the meat, and sometimes people eat that meat, and sometimes those people get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and their brains go all mushy inside, and they think they've got a shot at becoming Alabama's next governor.
Now, I'm not a card-carrying member of PETA by any stretch, but it seems to me that you shouldn't be feeding cows the ground-up brains of other cows ANYWAY. The last time I checked, cows were neither carnivores nor cannibals. So they probably don't enjoy the ground-up brains of their brethren in the slightest, nor is it likely to be all that good for them.
Add in the fact that it causes a deadly brain-wasting disease, and you'd think that even Grover Norquist would agree it's in the government's best interests to ensure that greedy megafarms don't produce deadly cannibal-cows to be ground up into our Whoppers.
But since the government's new, improved guidelines for controlling mad cow disease - guidelines that are MERELY A PROPOSAL AT THIS POINT - would just now ban cow brains and spinal cords from cattle feed.
Obviously, the brain-wasting is more widespread than anyone will admit. It's been about 20 years since they figured out that if you feed cow brains to cows, the cows go crazy and then the people who eat the cows go crazy. Entire international markets have been closed off to us because we keep feeding cow brains to cows. And only now is the FDA considering a ban.
It's enough to make one consider giving up meat altogether. The problem with that is, if the government is this incompetent at protecting us from the incredibly obvious dangers of bovine bovophagy, the kind of shit we're probably feeding the BROCCOLI is too horrible to even contemplate.
Mark my words, fifteen years from now, when the FDA finally gets around to banning the use of desecrated Love Canal corpses as plant fertilizer, you'll wish you'd had the steak tartare.