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In Light of Mad Cow

Updated on February 27, 2013
Despite their reputation as burgers, cows make sweet and loving companions.
Despite their reputation as burgers, cows make sweet and loving companions.

Mad Cow Disease: Should we be Afraid?

At least a cow has to have an illness to go mad. Humans go mad just trying to increase profit.

Cows are meant to chew the cud, regurgitate and chew again. While their primary diet should be from plant-based materials, American farmers are feeding them diets heavy in soy and corn, known to upset their stomachs. Also, it illegal to feed cows restaurant scrapes including meat and poultry. Also considered legal feed is the delicious waste swept off the floors of overcrowded chicken coops. Even more price efficient, the plasma from cows and pigs can be given to calves as a milk replacement. When it comes to factory farming the only thing anyone seems to care about is producing the highest volume at the cheapest price.

On April 24th, after testing a deceased cow in the back of a transport truck, California found themselves with their fourth case of atypical BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy) popularly known as Mad Cow Disease. Scientists have ruled tainted feed from the list of perpetrators, instead focusing on genetics. Scientists are finding that Mad Cow might also originate from a miss-folded protein called a prion. Meat and bone meal can be contaminated with a sheep disease called scarpie, it’s this very food scientists believe has lead to this prion, or the evolution of a genetic form of Mad Cow Disease. But wait, aren’t cows herbivores? They were until humans decided they know best, now feeding them cheap meats to fatten them up and increase their worth.

The UK learned an eerily similar lesson in mid-1980 when this same contamination occurred, leading to a ban on feeding diseased tissue to animals. By 1996 several people in the UK had been directly impacted, identified as having a variant form of CJD- the rapid brain disease directly caused by Mad Cow.

The US and India are the only Countries that consume meat without the approval of a comprehensive traceability test. Unfortunately for all American’s safety, this test happens to be one of the most important tools in keeping our food industry clean and safe; the ability to track the health of the animals we directly consume. This means there is very little testing of the cows we purchase in our grocery stores- any one of them could have been slaughtered before someone noticed they had the disease.

The feed known to cause Mad Cow has been banned by the US but not for our chickens and pigs who eventually become feed for the cows. Therefore cows are continuing to consume materials known to heighten the risk of a very preventable calamity.

Austria tests 15,000 cows a month

Germany tests every 1 out of 3 cows

Switzerland tests every 1 out of 60

In one night Ireland tests more cows than the US does in one year.

The US tests every 1 in 18,000; only 2,400 cows a year.


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Everytime I read an article like this one, I swear I'll never eat beef again! I love my steak and I just try and not think about how the beef was raised or slaughtered. I'm sure all this is true, but I can't be a vegetarian!

      Good info here. Voted UP.


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