West Texas Cattle Industry Hit Hard by Mad Cow Announcement - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/30/05

West Texas Cattle Industry Hit Hard by Mad Cow Announcement

The U.S. Government is reassuring the public that the food supply is safe. But, the cattle industry could suffer.

The first case of mad cow disease cost a Tulia rancher $1 million, and that number is already on the rise for others in the cattle industry. NewsChannel 11 visited one of the largest cattle markets in West Texas and asked how the industry will survive a second case in the states.

Jim Calbert has walked down this road before. It is the second time he's seen the cattle industry come to a halt. "There's definitely a decline in business. Everybody's got a wait-and-see attitude." With nearly 60 years experience in the cattle industry, Calbert says United States' beef has never been safer. "Imported beef tests just a fraction, 1% of their beef. Every head in the U.S. is tested numerous times."

Calbert stands behind his beef. His company works with over 350 miles of West Texas as well as several states. You can even see his beef on a plate at Cagles steakhouse. John Cagle says, "I don't think it will effect our beef sales or my sales being a steak restaurant or retail beef sales. I don't think they'll be effected by mad cow as people learn what it is."

Beef producer are expecting a billion dollar loss from the mad cow announcement, but that won't keep these beef lovers away from their brisket. Cagle says, "It's about the same chances of winning the Powerball lottery and being struck by lightning that same night as it is for a person to contract BSE in this country."

And when Jim Calbert was asked if he was going to keep eating beef, he answered, "Three times a day."

Calbert says consumers will not see much of a price change for beef in grocery stores, but the price ranchers get from cattle has already been on the decline.

get more>> Web Enhanced 6/29/05
Gov. Perry Responds to Mad Cow Confirmation
Read the press release issued by the Governor Rick Perry following the confirmation that a case of Mad Cow originates in Texas.

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