Source of Mad Cow

Infection Still a Mystery

The government yesterday closed its investigation of the nation's first domestic case of mad cow disease, saying it could not pin down how a Texas cow was infected with the brain-wasting ailment.

Officials continue to think the Brahma cross beef cow ate contaminated feed before the United States banned from cattle feed ground-up cattle remains. The only way the disease is known to spread is through eating brain and other nerve tissue from infected cows.

Food and Drug Administration official Stephen F. Sundlof said the most likely culprit was tainted feed eaten before the 1997 ban. The Texas cow tested positive in June.

The investigation of the animal's herd mates and offspring found that 147 were presumed to have been slaughtered for food, feed or other use, and 21 could not be traced. In all, the government traced 413 animals in its investigation.

Also yesterday, officials agreed to let the industry run a nationwide system of tracking the movements of cows, pigs and chickens from birth to the dinner table.

ACLU Seeks Records

On Rape Treatment

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the Justice Department to release records that might explain why it does not advise hospitals to consider emergency contraception when treating rape victims.

The organization joined several family-planning and abortion rights groups in submitting a Freedom of Information Act request relating to the first-ever national medical protocol distributed to state health departments last November.

"It is time for the Department of Justice to be accountable for refusing to do everything it can to protect sexual assault survivors from unintended pregnancy," said Louise Melling of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

A spokesman for the Justice Department did not immediately return a phone call yesterday.

The groups and some lawmakers have expressed concern that the Bush administration is endangering women's health at the expense of promoting an antiabortion agenda, citing the potential trauma for rape victims who must deal with unwanted pregnancies.

Higher Review Sought

On Finding for EPA

Attorneys general from five states and the District of Columbia asked a federal appellate court to reconsider whether the Environmental Protection Agency should be forced to take action against global warming.

Massachusetts, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and the District asked the full appeals court to review the rejection of a lawsuit filed by 12 states which sought to enforce federal regulations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions on cars and trucks.

The EPA acted properly when it spurned the petition two years ago, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled July 15. The attorneys general want the full 11-member court to review the 2 to 1 ruling.

"This case deals with one of the most serious environmental threats of our time," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly, said in a statement. "Surely, it warrants a decision by the full court."

-- From News Services