As he leaves office, Tommy Thompson has told America that while he has done a great job in human health areas, the Department of Agriculture has done a less than adequate job defending the nation’s food supply. This is a subtle slam at outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, who in fact has done a magnificent job.
Her department fully contained the Mad Cow scare on December 23, 2003 by quickly determining the source of the cow and its negligible threat to the food supply. She rapidly alleviated the fears of the American public.
While Thompson says he is “surprised” we have not suffered a terrorist attack on our food supply, he should recognize this is no accident, but the result of significant efforts by Homeland Security and the Department of Agriculture to deter, prevent, detect, and thwart such activities. USDA and Homeland Security do not find it useful to brag about their activities. They go about them quietly and effectively.
It is not an accident of poor planning or lack of intention that our recent presidential election was not disrupted by terrorism as was the March election of a new government in Spain. Thompson should realize that if the terrorists could have they would have.
Dr. Jay Lehr ([email protected]) is science director at The Heartland Institute. Attending more than 75 meetings of farmers and agricultural scientists each year, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on agriculture issues in the United States.