Is the cause of varCJD still one of those "Unknown Unknowns"?

Folks, given the current level of unjustified hysteria about the dire threat of beef imports introducing BSE and devastating our export beef industry and causing varCJD in Aussies, I thought it an opportune time to pose this question. Have we proved conclusively beyond a shadow of a doubt that the BSE prion is the cause of var CJD in humans?

Or is it still one of those "Unknown Unknowns " famously defined by former US Vice President Donald Rumsfeld as these being "things we don't know we don't know". Furthermore, is the real answer in one of the other caterogies of human knowledge so cleverly defind by this often pilloried gent.

All copyrights for the below reserved to Donald Rumsfeld.

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are
things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns.
There are things we don't know we don't know.

Donald Rumsfeld

A special hi to Janet Thompson as I know she has been studying up some info I sent her on the subject.I look foward to her thoughtful comments.
Now Laurel, please take a deep breath and perhaps have a little lie down before you get too wound up over this intruiging topic. Cheers to all Lee Mc Nicholl


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Must have missed something earlier, when doing the Customs House Agreement I remember that variouse scources got their numbers as high as over 200% odd of farm gate production exported, but we like Rob were simply about getting to the percentage of farm gate production exported, it was the parlimentary library which had the biggest lies, or the least understanding, and those who used their numbers got into most trouble...remember at the time all and sundry would say we export up to 90% . So it was important to get to the bottom of the issue.

I notice the NFF still quoting us exporting 60 odd percent so....usual crap Lee. Interestingly the DFAT boys had the most pain and were the most difficult to get a definitive answer from, no prise to work out why, and when they did come up with some numbers they refused to have my committee verify their methodology and certainly could not give us a peer reviewed paper, suffice to say, on difficult questions to to with the sorce of numbers, they would allways deffer to the ABS, who when pressed said "we would not come up with those numbers and those numbers are patently wrong and further that the 25% was knowen to be the correct number for some time" so this question of what percentage we export is significant for us as primary producers and has been used by certain politicians to push the propergander that we must find a home overseas for the bulk of our production so certain things are good for us. In reality it is a certain philosophical group who distort figures to peddal their propegander. When governmet does it , it is the very worse, a scandal.

I'm sure the Customs House Agreement is on this site somewhere, Steve you may insert the little link and at the time all who were involved were named,and phone numbers given. Give Dr McGovern a call and ask him to have a look at Beef specifically, he has the ability to desagregate the National Accounts, and in there will be the specific number, but don't use the sauceages that the mine workers eat in the Pilbara to add to the total of exported as some tried in the committee deliberations....and that was to get the figure up to the mid 30's.

In terms of trade policy this is the most important that we know the shape of our industy so we may formulate policy that gives us the best outcome.

Lee I am still of the believe that the prcautionary principal should more debate about that issue ...for m e anyway. I'll bet we will see the industry organisations connected to the NFF all falling in line and the job is under way so no amount of debate will alter the direction, another instance, one of so many when a small number, certainly the minority get the upper hand and ploicy is cahanged anyway. Much more about philosophy than industry policy. One thing is for sure, the MLA will not move to a lower figure. You may well be onto them Rob.
The Canadians aren't too happy about the US COOL laws. Neither are the Mexicans. The Americans buy Canadian cattle, take them over the border, process them and sell them at home and send them back as guess what? Good ole US beef.

Same with produce from Mexico.

Did you know Australian food goes to New Zealand in bulk and comes back in packets with the Fern on it?
G'day Rowell, Iam only really interested in dealing with trade policy as it applies to the beef industry on this post.

Also I wish to have the debate on the basis that participants compare oranges with oranges re the beef industry . If folk wish to have a wider debate about whole of Argicuture trade policy, then I suggest some one starts a discussion to that effect.

IN the meantime I am going to stay focused on the beef industry an call a "red herring" a red herring" when I see one. Regards from Lee Mc Nicholl
The difference between 60 odd percent and 40 percent is significant....even to you mate.
G'day Rowell, do you want to compare oranges with oranges or play tricky games to obscure meaningful statistics which can lead to the truth in relation to the beef industry. Cheers Lee Mc Nicholl
G'day Roger, I don't think you are correct here. US COOL laws demand that product containing US product + beef derived from Canadian and or Mexican cattle fed in the US must be labelled as such. THis applies to US export of this product back to Canada or Mexico as well as far as I know.

However I am propared to be corrected on this re- exported beef issue Cheers Lee Mc Nicholl
Mr. Bellinger, in the absence of your reply to my earlier question asking you to confirm or deny your position , can I correctly assume that you believe their is credible evidence that BSE causes CJD as well as Alzheimer’s.

I base my assertions re Alzheimer’s on a post you have made on Agmates and in relation to CJD on a recent ABA Press Release. Can you confirm that you hold these views.

Cheers from Mr. One % who is very keen to get back into the ring from the Blue Corner
There are plenty of US cattlemen that are not happy about US COOL laws too. Prior to this R-Calf-pushed mandatory labeling of beef produced from Canadian and Mexican cattle, Canada and Mexico were more like two additional US states, as far as free trade went. That is a good thing. People that say free trade has never been tried has not studied the 50 US states and Canada/Mexico.

COOL is a non-tariff trade barrier, and it has been bad for relations between the countries, and as someone who grew up in the US cattle business, I'm ashamed of such a law.

The upshot of this is that, if I buy cattle out of Northern Mexico, the packers love them (they are excellent cattle - usually a bit of brown swiss cross, so marble highly and perform well in the feedlot). But based on COOL, the packers discount them US$45 per head when they purchase for slaughter. Now, I don't care how many housewives are checking the labels, this meat retails for the same price as other meat. So, guess who's making extraordinary profits due to a damn US Federal Government law? NOT the Mexican cattle producers who are our friends. NOT the US cattlman who buys them. NOT the feedlot that feeds them. Either the packer or the retailer. I'll let Laural figure out which one of those entities she wants to hate the most today. :-)
Hey, Laurel, I've driven through Latin America, and saw lots of Banana plantations. Never saw anyone holding a gun to anyone else's head, making them pick bananas. Those people would rather have Dole and their banana plantations than what was there before. (Nothing.)

Free trade is the best thing for those people to develop and prosper. The US should be ashamed of its pro-free-trade rhetoric backed up by non-tarriff trade barriers such as COOL. Let's DO BUSINESS...with whomever produces the best product at the best price. I love Latin America, and would love to continue this conversation with you as any time.
Lee, a sense of humour is a glorious thing. You made me laugh with this one, Mate!
Just who is playing tricky games here? Not me .I couldn't give a flying fig about about Bse- we are agreed it is no threat. I don't need to get on and skite about how fat or how much and from who -that i'm getting for my cattle. These a commercial decissions that are best left private.

Thanks Rowell for backing me up a bit. I smell a rat in this reporting system. When quizzed Tom said they get their data from ABS. I asked -"was this historical evidence or sample modelling as the Agricultural sensus is done now?"

Answer- not sure but thinks it is probably a sample!
Lee the e-mail came from Tom and as I said after the ph call- no missunderstanding there ,it is as you predicted.

The wool analogy was to point out (trying to be logical- not tricky) that a kilo is a kilo and that a break up of percentages has to come to 100. This conversion ratio wouldn't account for an animal that gets broken down and parts go o.s. and parts stay here would it?

I have been saying since Agmates started that we need real unbiased industry and market information to make decisions for our businesses.

MLA being public service have a vested interest in the Govts free trade mantra and to keep us madly producing more for less actually helps there kitty because it means more levy revenue. For me -this is at the heart of this Bse red herring.

Since we export 43% of our production- we should be looking after our main markets (home) just as all the other countries are doing.

If we got paid the 20cent out of the consumer $ that the US producers recieve( due to fairer competition in the markets)- we could all cut back30% to be in the same position and exporting huge tonnage at cost price would not be a problem any longer.
Lee, with all due respect, there has never in history been a "properly managed tariff." In every case, this leads to complacency on the part of the producer, less choice for consumers, and higher prices at the end of the day, for generally lesser-quality products.

Now, if I wanted to go into the car manufacturing business in Australia with, say, my Janetto brand of car, what would be stopping me? 1. Government regulations; 2. High price of labour thanks to labour unions but also thanks to lack of labour due to restrictive immigration laws; 3. I have no money because the Government has made me go broke in my existing industry. (#3 is my attempt at humour. It's true, but it still made me laugh.)

More freedom, in every case, is the answer. More regulation, in every case, makes it harder for the little guy to compete. Laurel, I (somewhat and sometimes in some cases) understand your vitriolic hatred of big companies. But I promise you, the answer is to grant more freedom, not impose more restrictions.

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