According to the owners of a slaughter plant in Moses Lake, Wash., the nation's first cow to be diagnosed with BSE was not a downer when they slaughtered her Dec. 9. But, the government has always contended that she was a downer, based on the observations of a Food Safety Inspection Service veterinarian who examined the animal in a recumbent position on the trailer that brought her to market.
    "There is nothing saying that an animal that is down cannot get up," said USDA chief veterinarian officer Ron DeHaven in response to a question Monday. "So, in fact, both accounts could potentially be true." He added that the USDA Office of Inspector General is investigating the matter further.