Letters To The Editor
ditor Dear Editor:
Power Play - Control You watch TV, you’ve seen what some state governors are doing today. Taking control over people with no respect for citizens’ rights.
Look no further than our city government, making it impossible to disconnect and connect water line service! They only have the right if the citizen allows them to do it.
Our neighboring towns treat their citizens with respect, what happened to our town! Ask our mayor and city coucil people “Why us?”
Wolf Point City Office, 653-1852.
The COVID-19 viral pandemic seems to have caught our population unprepared.
Global Free Trade leaves us susceptible to another viral pandemic, foot and mouth disease. Fresh and frozen meat from enzootic (infected) countries can contain the live virus. Therefore, imported meat from an enzootic country falsely labeled “Product of the USA” can be infective.
The virus is devastating, very contagious and can cause lasting health issues in infected animals that survive. It spreads by air, ingestion and contaminated objects (sound familiar?). Improper disposal of uncooked pork or contaminated boots arriving by air travel (sound familiar?) have caused problems in the past. FMD spreads so quickly that even with cutting edge technology and knowledge we may be left without a clear course of action (sound familiar?). Social distancing (sound familiar?) of four miles is suggested for quarantine. All split hoofed mammals (deer, bison, antelope, elk, llamas, etc.) are susceptible. Wildlife interacts with domestic livestock and crosses borders without restriction.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for protecting the U.S. from serious reportable imported foreign animal diseases. According to veterinarians attending training meetings, the USDA thinks that importing meat from infected countries will bring FMD to the U.S. They hope to control it with vaccination. FMD virus, like the flu virus, has strains which change constantly. Therefore stockpiled FMD vaccine may be completely useless. Developing another vaccine takes time (sound familiar?). The U.S. does not put meat from diseased animals into the food chain so short supplies and higher prices would result (sound familiar?).
I tried to reach the USDA veterinarian in charge under President Obama. She did not answer phone calls or letters. She did, however, travel to Brazil (enzootic FMD) before we started importing meat from there and enthusiastically informed the press that meat processing facilities there were equal to those in the U.S. At that time, some JBS (Brazilian meat processors) personnel were in jail or charged with bribery in Brazil. Now, we have imported JBS meat processors into the U.S. along with “Product of the USA” meat from Brazil. I do not know if their bribery habits were also imported but their habit of huge profits certainly came with them.
I did manage to phone one USDA official and inquire how they proposed to stop the spread of FMD in wildlife. I was told, “We have no funds to address that.”
I phoned about a dozen non-government organizations, whose names proclaimed their mission of saving wildlife and natural biologically diverse systems.
I found out: How to contribute to them and that they need to save wildlife and habitat from people on the land (not tourists) and domestic animals. They promise a perfect future where diseased wildlife and burned habitat are just part of their dream of nature unrestricted.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Perdue is a veterinarian. That gave me hope. However, when I realized his bio included global agricultural, I lost hope. Like the NGOs and foreign meat processors, his bottom line would likely be his priority. Lately, he explained to the press that we needed poor quality imported meat to mix with quality U.S. beef to make it more affordable. Have you noticed any reduction of beef prices at your grocery store? The meat processors have suggested we import from yet another FMD-infected country to fix their slowdown in meat processing due to COVID-19. FMD-free countries usually do not import (the U.S. is an exception) from infected countries, so I am sure the processors will buy that meat cheap and sell it high.
U.S. agriculture needs to be protected and kept sustainable. Countries without a reliable food supply will fail--just as they have historically failed! Famine has side effects such as bloody demonstrations, war, migrations, diseases, ethnic blame, etc. We should let history be our guide and avoid the hunger trap.
Rose Stoneberg Hinsdale