For Cattle Industry, a Swift Response Years in the Making By GLEN JUSTICE
The initial response was the first line of defense for an industry facing the largest test of its clout in years. It then embraced regulations imposed by the Agriculture Department on Tuesday, including an about-face on a provision the industry had long opposed and had defeated in the House earlier this year.
"Their barn is burning down," said Howard Lyman, a former rancher and lobbyist for the National Farm Union who is now an advocate for tighter regulations and a critic of the industry. "They are trying to put the best face on it."
The crisis began two days before Christmas, when the cattlemen's association got the much-feared news that a cow in Washington State had tested positive in early laboratory work for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.