Monday, May 12, 2008

repubs: only free market when it suits biggest lobby

I'm loving this story about the Bush administration blocking companies from *responding* to consumer demands for safer beef:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Friday urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.

The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The agency argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.

This is the legitimate result of the free market (I feel like that term should be in all caps, neon, especially coming from a liberal in favor of regulation). Consumers would rather purchase food (and countries would rather import food) of which they have some way of verifying the safety. Obviously they can't easily test every animal, but this strawman "argument" at the end (more testing could result in more "false positives") is patent bullshit (pun intended). You know, more HIV tests mean more opportunities for false positives, and that might alarm the .01% of people that that would affect -- so let's just not test anyone! Problem solved!

Are the Bushies unacquainted with the myriad stories about our food safety issues? (E coli outbreaks, which are largely the result of factory farming; atrocities committed at slaughterhouses, resulting in unsafe meat, which we'd never hear about if it weren't for the Humane Society; tainted products from China, etc.) Or, more likely, are the people in this administration simply so out of touch with real Americans and the "common" food said Americans eat, and so lacking in empathy for anyone making less than a million a year, that they just don't care?

So come on, Bush and Co., and let the free market give the customers what they want. How much is the National Cattlemen's Beef lobby paying y'all to help them keep what happens in Texas, stay in Texas?

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