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What#039;s for dinner?Steak! Our beef is fine

Last week the national media created quite a mess when it reported that a cow with Mad Cow disease had been processed into the meat.

This cow was in the northwestern U.S., and had come over from Canada.

Now, before Oprah has a chance to comment or anything, let us say, support the beef industry in your state.

There are rules in place that protect us all from getting bad beef.

Gov. Bob Riley, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks and the state veterinarian all agree that Alabama's beef is safe and you should enjoy it.

This was their announcement last week after the revelation hit about the diseased bovine.

They didn't say why they knew this but they believe in federal guidelines in place.

Those guidelines came about after England's brush with the disease a few years back.

Our state officials were correct in their claims.

That diseased cow came nowhere near Alabama.

What we need to do now that this bovine brouhaha has arrived in our country is use it to our advantage.

Take this opportunity to improve our regulation of the meat industry so that what happened elsewhere cannot happen here.

If our standards become the highest in the world, then that means when other countries want beef, the dinner bell will be ringing here in the U.S.

What is this disease?

It is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system of cattle that can be transmitted to humans through protein that cooking does not destroy. This protein has only showed up in the brains and nervous tissue of cattle, but scientists have found them in the muscle tissue of other infected animals, including humans.

Ironically, the disease is most often spread through feed made from the ground up parts of other cattle.

So being a bit cannibalistic towards other bovines isn't going to help the hungry heifer.

Our government should take the following steps:

n Ban all beef from outside the U.S.

If our cattle farmers can't raise quality beef, then we'll go without it.

However, we think they're doing fine.

n

Test cattle that appears sick when they arrive at slaughterhouses.

In fact, don't fool with anything else, just destroy the animal, pay the owner a market price and burn the carcass.

n

Keep the ban in place that cattle feeds in the U.S. cannot include products derived from cattle.

n

The U.S. should get extremely aggressive as other nations when it involves inspecting and regulating beef.

n

Ban all meat products from animal feed to eliminate the danger from other farm animals.

It should be noted that the USDA plans to create a national animal identification system that will allow tracking of all meat animals. This will allow health officials to respond faster to an outbreak of any beef-related disease, not just mad cow.

In our opinion, these changes needed to be made much sooner than now.

We did not need to wait until this mad cow showed up on every channel scaring everyone with the memories of mad cows past.

We are on the right track and folks our beef is very safe.

So go ahead.

Visit that butcher today and get you a big hunk of beef for that grill.

Beef.

It is STILL for dinner!