And that's a pile that's reaching Everest proportions. Make sure you're sitting down for this one--the Bush administration's Secretary of Agriculture doesn't think that there's any problems in the nation's slaughterhouses, at least nothing that would require more inspections or more stringent inspections. And it gets better than that.

Schafer rejected senators' calls to ban from slaughter any cattle unable to walk. "Downer" cows are at higher risk of carrying E. coli and Salmonella bacteria and of having the wasting neurological illness known as mad cow disease.

It really has come to this--I won't eat US meat unless it's locally grown and I can see where it's slaughtered. I don't trust the system, and for someone who is as carnivorous as I am, that's a major step.

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