I read today that State Legislator Frank Nicely of Strawberry Plains is apparently losing sleep at night worrying about Mad Cow disease in Tennessee. He has proposed legislation that would go beyond federal requirements and ban the use of all feed containing cattle protein or bone meal made from cattle or other animals such as sheep. Although the use of this sort of feed is already banned for cattle, other animals such as hogs and chickens can still be given said food, and Nicely fears that cross-contamination raises the risk of Mad Cow disease being spread in Tennessee.

What Nicely and the media outlets don’t mention is that there has been only one case of Mad Cow disease in the United States – ever. The one US cow that was found to have Mad Cow came from Canada. So not a single cow raised (and fed) in the United States has ever been reported to have Mad Cow, yet apparently the situation is so dire that Representative Nicely feels that we need legislation to make sure that the local farmers are feeding their pigs and chickens properly.

Excessive and unnecessary regulations such as this one hurts the American farmer. What I don’t understand is why Nicely, a farmer himself, feels that this sort of regulation is merited. I’m waiting to hear back from my brother-in-law (a cattle farmer) on this issue, so expect further postings…