mad cow disease : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I've heard many theories on mad cow's disease from organophosphate chemicals to the feeding of cow parts to the cows, but does anyone know if we have had any cases in the US? Have any cow come down with this? I know that this disease has spread to the deer population in Europe and I am very concerned. I have a carb metabolism problem and cannot eat alot of grain and bean - so going veggie is out for me. Anyone have any thoughts?

-- Tiffani Cappello (, March 02, 2001


See if your local library has or can get Deadly Feasts: The "Prion" Controversy and the Public's Health" by Richard Rhodes. He is a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer. Try to get the 1998 paperback edition as it includes an Afterword which is an update to the hardback edition. If you are going to get vCJD through MCD, likely it will be through hamburger and processed meat products, rather than the higher grade cuts. I bought my copy through

You are probably more likely to get CJD than vCJD. It has been reasonably proven to have been transmitted through dental work, operations, reused surgical instruments and perhaps tissue implants and blood transfusion. Whether it is a prion or virus, nothing seems to kill the hummers. What happens if someone who dies of CJD is embalmed? Far as I know the blood drawn out goes down the drain into the sewer system. From there to the waste processing plant, and from possibly back into the drinking water supply or into sewage sludge, used as fertilizer.

One point his book makes is scientists really down know what exactly caused MCD or how it became to cause vCJD. vCJD experience in Britian and Europe is about 1 in 1,000,000, same as for CJD. Some reserchers think some U.S. cattle do have an American spontaneous version of MCD, again 1 in about 1,000,000. I think there are about 100,000,000 million cattle in the U.S. So say 100 have it and eventually enter the food chain each year. If 1 in 1,000,000 people are susceptible, the odds run extremely long.

We take risks every day. vCJD or MCD is just one of them. Even vegans are not safe from it. One vegetarian is England is believe to have come down with vCJD through inhaling bone meal used on her roses. The use of ruminant MBM in hog, horse and chicken feed is still permitted. There is a possibility it could be passed through in poultry manure. How many homesteads use their poultry litter on their gardens? Composting would have no effect on the prion, virus, or whatever which causes vCJD or MCD.

If you want to hedge your bet, stick with the better cuts or grow your own from a bottle calf.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 02, 2001.

No, to my knowledge no CATTLE have come down with it here yet. However... there is a similar disease in our elk, deer and mountain sheep and goats. There have been several individuals put down, and it is a closely related but not transferrable (as advertised) disease.

Mad cow is no longer contained in Britain... it is in Europe, Central America and South America. We still import from some of the countries that have recently reported it. Be careful to buy only domestic beef!!! There has been one report in Mexico, and one in Canada this week.

-- Sue Diederich (, March 02, 2001.


I checked the source you gave me ( and can find no reference to confirmed cases of MCD in Central or South America, Mexico or Canada. CJD, vCJD and Alzheimers look very similar, would I would expect some scares.

Anyone have any other sources?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 02, 2001.

Look at Lots of information .

-- Kate henderson (, March 03, 2001.

Somewhat off the topic correction: Although some vegetarians would use bone and bloodmeal on their plants, few, if any, vegans would since the whole thing with being a vegan is a complete absence of any animal products in your diet and almost always in your life. My sis is a vegan and makes vegan chocolate candies for sale. She has supply problems with her chocolate supplier because ther is only one in America that has machines that make chocolate specifically dedicated to vegan (milk free) chocolate. All other make milk chocolate in their machines, but even if they sterilize it between batches, a lot of vegans would not eat the vegan chocolate made in these machines. Sis (and many others) won't even eat honey, because it is a product stolen from the hive and thus considered a product derived from the abuse or misuse of a living being. People like this would generally not be caught dead (no pun intended) using bone and blood meal.

-- Soni (, March 03, 2001.


Does your sister use lipstick or cosmetics? Does she use floor waxes? Does she use gelotin? Do any of her shoes contain leather? Does one of her children became diabetic, would she refuse the use of animal-derived insulin? Does she refuse vaccines? Does she refuse to take a capsule because the digestible case contains animal by- products?

That is fine for her, but the U.S. would have a far lower standard of living if absolutely no animal products or by-products were used. And I doubt it would be any healthier.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 04, 2001.

Wow, Ken, that was kinda over the top. Doug

-- Doug (KY) (, March 04, 2001.

Ken- I had similar thoughts. I was having lunch with some friends one day and one friend's girlfriend (who claimed to be vegan) was even decrying the wearing of silk, because of the abuse of the silkworm in an attempt to increase production. I asked her what is ok to wear and she quickly replied, "only cotton". I asked her about the mass murder of the boll weevil in cotton production and she gave me an evil look that would make a meat-eater proud! Your point is a good one. At some point in the production of almost any product, I would imagine you could find some animal being harmed. Jack

-- jack (, March 04, 2001.

Ken in answer to your questions: No, no, no, no, no kids and doesn't want any, no clue (probably), and yes. You think y'all got it tough, my gran has to feed this bunch (2 vegetarians, one of which who is allergic to wheat, one near veggie, one militant vegan, and Coco, the mid-sister, who'll eat and wear anything.) on the holidays!

As per your second statement - I think that the "quality of life" that most clogged arteried, overweight, chemically-steeped, and BSE- susceptible people (not to mention the burdens - financially and environmentally - that their lifestyle creates for the rest of us speaks for itself and I, for one, would not miss it if it went bye- bye. Would I have to deal with some inconveniences? Sure, even sis has to use gelatin-based film if she want to take a picture, and there are several "have to have" items that are animal based, but I know that the bull (pun fully intended) that I (and the planet in general) have to put up with due to animal cruelty and corporate animal production is greater than anything I'd have to live with. And as far as medical stuff goes, as with cosmetics, when one has no other option, one does what one has to, but you would be suprised at what options wicome a'crawling out of the woodwork when one is faced with a loss of a major "crutch" (or faced with comercial suicide, in the case of cosmetics). Build the need, and we (creative beings of this planet) will come, with solutions abounding, usually.

-- Soni (, March 04, 2001.


To my knowledge, no one has ever gotten out of life alive. Even Moses, Noah and Jesus. My point remains the quality of life one is willing to live with between birth and death. Your sister's lifestyle is fine. Great, I choose to live differently by choosing a middle ground.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 04, 2001.

An article in the current issue of Acres, U.S.A. says, " A spate of recent deaths linked to Mad Cow disease have prompted state health officials to launch an investigation in northeast Texas. Since April 1996, five people have been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in a 22 county area. The investigation comes shortly after Purina Mills, the nation's largest producer of livestock feed, quarantined 1,220 cattle and recalled 22 tons of feed at its San Antonio, Texas plant. A Purina Mills spokesperson said the company had begun phasing out the use of meat and bonemeal from cows in any of its livestock feed, but that the plant may have mixed cow meat and bonemeal into a feed supplement that was put on the wrong truck."

For those of you who think it won't happen to us, think again. There is probably more of this going on than we know because the government and the media will keep it hushed up so that "no one panics". In my opinion, sometime "panic" is needed since the government "protects" us to our own detriment too often. What they refer to as panic is just the public speaking out and voicing their opinions, and rightly so. We need to see the public doing more of this. Unfortunately, they don't know that things are going on until they are way out of control. Hubby and I have quit eating beef until we locate a local farmer who can provide us with safe beef. We think we have found a provider but we are waiting until the farmers' market to open in the spring so we can get the meat from him.

-- Colleen (, March 05, 2001.

I'm with you, Soni. As far as justifying the risk of eating beef by saying that even veggies risk mad cow disease by sprinkling bone meal on their gardens, why I'd rather use bone meal and NOT eat beef than use bone meal and ALSO eat beef. I think the beef eating would be a whole lot riskier behavior than sprinkling bone meal on the garden. Especially since the beef eater is likely eating beef more often than the gardener is sprinling her bone meal.

I'm also glad I quit eating beef just over twenty-five years ago, since I have read that Mad Cow Disease has a very long incubation period.

Have we had any Mad Cow cases in the US? Maybe, maybe not. Are there some Mad Cow infected people who don't know it yet? Maybe, maybe not.


Sorry this is a bit rambling, but I have to get to work asap!

-- jumpoff joe (, March 05, 2001.

CJD seems to be spontaneous in about 1:1M people. If Texas has a population of say 8M, eight case a year should appear. Doesn't sound to me to be a spike in occurances.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 05, 2001.

Good chance there'll be travellers who were infected in the UK, then returned to their homes - whether that be the USA or Australia or wherever.

We should also try to avoid confusion about the difference between "normally occurring" Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, and the "variant" Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) caused by BSE.

-- Don Armstrong (, March 06, 2001.

Ok, I'm gonna through in: the earth shall be scorched, the forests will burn, plagues will scourge the earth. Not an exact quote by any means...but catch the drift?

-- Deborah (, March 23, 2001.

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