Mad Cow is back in the news again. Yes, it’s a bad thing, but lets not lose our heads this time.
Few will not recall the Mad Cow frenzy and the rabid anti-American and anti-Korean government protests that took place for nearly three months in Korea back in 2008.
Protest is a democratic right and by all means make use of it, but tens of thousands taking to the street clinging to an absurd notion that the U.S. beef industry and the Korean president Lee Myung Bak sought to kill them with tainted beef?
The world looked on in wonder.
Following the recent announcement that one cow in a lot of 40,000 tested in California was positive for Mad Cow, Korean retailers have already begun to pull American beef off the shelves.
Home Plus and Lotte Mart, the country’s No. 2 and No. 3 supermarket chains, along with Lotte Department Store, said they have “temporarily” halted sales of U.S. beef to “calm worries” among South Koreans.
Not exactly the way to calm worries, but fair enough, they are independent businesses allowed to do as they please. Several American chains are doing the same as are some in Taiwan. Japan and Russia, two other large U.S. beef importers, have yet to weigh in.
South Korea’s leading grocery chain leader, E-Mart, said it won’t pull U.S. beef from shelves until it hears the government’s response. I admire their prudence –actually waiting to hear how things play out less than 36 hours into it. E-Mart can count on my business in the future. (And, truth be told, they are right down the street from my house).
Think Things Through Before Going on the Warpath
Demonstrations are a part of life in free societies like South Korea, where an average of 11,000 protests take place a year. This is a great thing –power to the people.
A vast majority of those who hit the streets in anger in 2008 were young people, much like the university students I teach everyday. To them I say at least consider a few things before pointing fingers and calling for blood.
A few points to consider:
- There is no concerted effort by the cattle industry to kill people. If so, who is going to buy their product? This is not the Chinese government covering up the widespread melamine problem and allowing people to die, rather than alert them to the danger, just to protect the country’s image during the 2008 Olympics.
- The government doesn’t want you dead either. If you die who is going to pay taxes, defend the country, invent new apps for your smart phone and pray that Lady Gaga leaves the country before her show?
- Rely on credible news sources. Unlike the reprehensible PD Notebook news program that falsified facts saying that there were deaths due to Mad Cow in America, there are several reliable news sources to get your info from. Make use of them.
- Simply don’t buy the product. The greatest damage you can do and the greatest way to alter an industry’s behavior is by hitting them where it counts –the wallet.
The short of it is, disease happens. And once discovered, actions are taken to protect public health in responsible countries like South Korea and the U.S. There is no reason to go on the warpath, burning and destroying property, alienating allies and threatening lives over something that occurred without malice.
Do you get angry at your friend when he or she catches the flu? No, you stay away from them until they resolve the situation. Prudence my friends, prudence.