This investigation began by raising questions about the lack of federal inspection outside a slaughterhouse and the treatment of cows. Particularly it raised questions about health risks involving "downer" cows -- weak, sick or crippled dairy cows processed into beef for the kitchen table. The state's beef and dairy commissions, state agencies funded by fees attached to beef and dairy products, criticized the station's reports. The television station was tried in abstentia by the Washington News Council and found to have been unfair to the beef industry. The station earlier had refused to participate in the arbitration, saying its reports were accurate and that the council itself is partial. On Dec. 23, the first U.S. case of mad cow was announced. The animal was a downer cow processed at the same slaughterhouse that was the subject of the station's initial investigation.