The Right Coast

December 31, 2003
If it can't run away, don't eat it
By Tom Smith

Until recently the American Meat Institute and their subsidiary, the US Department of Agriculture, held that there was no problem feeding us with beef from cattle too sick to walk. Pardon me, but I think I might throw up every hamburger I have ever eaten, and let me assure you, that is quite a few.

Thank goodness for the government. Now that it turns out that doing so might turn hundreds or thousands of us into stumbling vegetables with brocoli for brains, the Department of Agriculture has ruled, if Betsy can't make it on her own to the slaughterhouse, then she's not fit to be et. I would not have thought it necessary to ask before, but does the DOA have any position on roadkill? And what about the definition of "beef"? Does it include, say, rats? I think the time may have come to go organic, meat-wise.

To be more honest about it, I should probably admit there isn't a lot that I won't eat. I need the DOA to make sure there is nothing disgusting in my hamburgers, because even a big sign at Ralph's saying "Warning: You don't even want to think about what is in this stuff" wouldn't deter me much. One summer I worked on a ranch, and there was a beef critter with a large mass on its leg, a tumor perhaps. The ranch manager decided it had to be slaughtered and would be fed to us. As the new guy, I got the honor of dispatching the creature, for which I was given a none too sharp GI bayonette. I learned something profound from the experience, which is, if you have to kill something with a big knife, make sure it is sharp. Actually, I also learned that cows deserve respect, fear death, and look really sad right before you kill them. I would be a vegetarian myself, except that I really like to eat meat. Anyway, the point is that all of us ate up this sick steer. It was tough, but tastey. Ranchers know their human primates. They'll eat anything.

I'm into small government, but I think it's fine if the feds say -- Novel thought! Let's not grind up the brains of cows with a horrible, deadly disease and mix them into America's favorite food! Whaddiasay, guys!