Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Speaking of holding back information ...

One of my Canadian informants alerted me to this tale of whistle-blowing. It seems that, possibly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture might be really anxious to get cattle and beef moving across the U.S.-Canada border again.

Lester Friedlander, now a consumer advocate, was fired from his job as head of inspections at a large meat-packing plant in Philadelphia in 1995 after criticizing what he called unsafe practices.

Mr. Friedlander said U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarians sent suspect cow brains to private laboratories, which confirmed they were infected with mad cow disease. Samples from the same animals, however, were cleared by government labs.

If Friedlander is telling the truth, this is a Very Big Deal. At the very least, this would be a case of withholding potentially relevant information. ("Here's your beef. Our lab says it's fine, but this other lab says maybe Mad Cow, so ... maybe you'll want to be careful, eh? You guys still say 'eh', right?") At worst, it would mean USDA labs were ... making up the results they wanted? Guys, this is veterinary biomedicine, not economics!

And for sure, the government has an interest in trade. But perhaps the government's scientists could keep their focus on the matters of scientific fact and let the other bits of the bureaucracy (which, I keep hearing, are legion) attend to the other stuff?


At 8:19 AM, Blogger rgay said...

Your info on BSE cattle is different from the news in our media. Canada's
media, at long last, reported that Dr Find... had independent tests
different from the authorized tests. Not at all a surprise - except that it
was published.

About the use of 'eh' by 'us guys', be aware that all Canadians are less
than homogenous. Referring to us as "you guys" lumps in a hugely diverse 20
million or so.

Cdns have dozens, yes not just Eng & Fr, of linguistic and cultural groups
as well as the usual spectrum of literacy (from the elite-erate of world
leaders in intellectual pursuits to the functionally illiterate-of whom Cda
has many, as does the US), as (I use this advisedly) 'you guys' well know.
Thusly, see that the 'you guys'-'us guys' is at best divisive.

Ps. All Cdns have a fairly common understanding of the meaning of 'eh',
despite the fact that the oxforders disparage its use. Cdns (both the elite
and the illit) purposely elect to use 'eh' with tongue-in-cheek to colour a
phrase or idea. 'Eh' doesn't translate directly. Think of the US'ers
common "Hell-OH", which does not show greetings, but sarcasm and
superiority. Our 'eh' is definitely not similar to "Hell-OH", and does not
show sarcasm or superiority. 'Eh' rather implies inclusion, commonness (of
some set of knowledge) as well as commonness of Cdns as an identifiable
entity including our differences and uniqueness, comraderie with (a set of
people), agreement, and usually irony, depending on the context. 'Eh' is
knowingly used within the cultural context of being Canadian (in spite of
our being Cree, Italian, French, Inuit, Egyptian or other) to subtly but
orally re-affirm our oneness and at the same time recognizes our diversity.
Just a little 'head's up', when a Cdn hears a non-Cdn use 'eh', it ne marche


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