Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
News Conference—Mad Cow Disease
December 23, 2003

Good evening everyone—thank you for coming. Joining me this evening are:

·Bill Brookreson Deputy Director of the Washington state Department of Agriculture, and

·Dr. Maxine Hayes of the Washington state Department of Health

A few hours ago, we learned that a suspected incident of mad cow disease has been found in our state. Preliminary findings from tissue samples have tested “presumptive positive.” To ensure public safety, it is being treated as “positive.” The tissue samples came from a cow from a small ranch near Mabton, Washington. Definitive test results should be known in three to five days.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the lead in this investigation. Our state Departments of Agriculture and Health are also involved. We are taking all necessary precautionary steps to assure the safety and health of our citizens. We will be assisting fully with federal and state authorities as the investigation continues.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman has assured us that human food supplies have not been threatened in any way, and that beef remains safe for consumption.

We are taking the situation seriously, and the investigation will be thorough. There are many questions that need to be answered that I and the general public will want to know. There is no cause for alarm. There will be emerging issues as the investigation continues, and I will keep you informed. We have our best people working on this.

We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating in the investigation. We will keep the people of Washington informed as more is learned.

And now we’ll take your questions.

Access Washington