Washington, DC -- The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to cut testing for BSE (Mad Cow Disease) by 90%. Formerly testing 1 in 100 slaughtered cows, the USDA will now let that number sink to 1 in 1000. But the agency is intent on reassuring the eating public with a back up system of psychics to "look into the future" of the beef supply.
A leaked memo has come to the desk of a well-known-but-unwilling-to-go-on-record reporter for a well-known-but-not-to-be-named paper of record. The memo outlines plans to employ psychics to 'read' various slaughterhouses and feedlots to discern carcasses and hoof-beef that should be tested beyond the 1 in 1000 baseline.
According to the memo, the lead psychic, code named MADame Beef Jerky, will oversee a cadre of psychic readers employed by a private firm, code named CowPoke. She (assuming gender by the given name) will give her collected data to the USDA on a regular basis. This psychically derived information will be merged into the test data to give a (no doubt) reassuringly low number of infected cows.
Moreover, the memo showed a high level of discretion by choosing "only psychics with a national reputation" to avoid a flood of Tarot/Tealeaf/Palm readers and other charlatans of the trade.
Also eliminated from the list of approved techniques:
Animal Spirit Cards
ALL card counters
Vegas acts of any stripe
Further barred are organ' readers, such as practitioners using entrails, hearts or brains to further their craft. The organ-readers would presumably require access to the carcass just after slaughter, which may increase the cost of the reading. "It is brain POWER that is sought, not actual brains," the memo hastened to add.
The method to be used by the various psychics was not delineated by the memo, but it is assumed that each practitioner will be free to use his/her own favorite set-up and accoutrements. Since most psychics employed by the nation's police departments read' on objects associated with the target,' it is safe to assume that perhaps a photo of Bessie the Cow, a nose ring, or even a carton of milk might be employed to conjure up the animals' disease state. Also not known is whether or not a steak tartare might be required for a 'best practice' read.
Presumably, the details have yet to be worked out, but the various psychics interviewed for the project were seemingly not deterred by their proposed encounters with the scientific method. An unnamed psychic put it this way: "I can predict 1 in 1000 as good as any stupid test' and at half the cost, too. Science don't know everything!"