This is weird:
MOSES LAKE, Wash. -- In the days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that mad cow disease had been discovered in a Holstein in Washington, officials insisted that the cow was a "downer" -- unable to walk.
The government's most significant subsequent step to prevent spread of the disease -- a Dec. 30 ban on processing "downer" cows for food -- stemmed from that finding.
Now, three people have come forward to assert that the cow was not a downer. While their stories vary on what happened Dec. 9 at Vern's Moses Lake Meats, their accounts agree on a key point: The cow was able to walk on its own.
The distinction on whether the cow could stand is significant. The department's search for mad cow disease has focussed on downed cattle or those with obvious signs of neurological damage....
... three people who were at Vern's Moses Lake Meats on the day the cow was killed told The Oregonian the cow was a "walker." Those men include the plant manager, a former employee and a man who was present when the cow was delivered to the site. The third man asked not to be identified....
We've really shrugged this incident off -- OK, we'll test a few more downer cows and everything will be hunky-dory again (not that it wasn't hunky-dory already!). But if this wasn't a downer, that's a reminder that we don't really know what warning signs to watch for, isn't it?