June 12, 2008
Honorable Edward Schafer
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
Dear Secretary Schafer,
We are writing to urge USDA to allow private testing for mad cow disease using the rapid test kits that USDA itself uses, as an essential approach to resolving the current crisis in Korea over importing US beef.
Recent massive protests in South Korea against the US-Korea beef deal si.g, ned on April 18,2008, make it urgent that USDA reevaluate its policy on private use of rapid BSE test kits. Dramatic action is needed to resolve the situation and gain access for US beef to the Korean market. Korean public reaction to the US-Korea beef deal, which allowed US cattle over the age of 30 months into South Korea and relaxed restrictions on bones in beef from cattle under 30 months of age, has been extraordinarily negative.
Large public demonstrations began on May 2,2008, have continued on an almost daily basis since and have escalated in size, with more than 100,000 demonstrating on June 10. The start date of the signed US-Korea beef deal, May 15, has long passed with still no sign of when, and under what conditions, US beef will be allowed back in South Korea.
For the full letter, click here (PDF format only).