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Mad Cow Disease  

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy,) or mad cow disease, has been found in cattle around the world. It has been linked to the human form of mad cow disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD). Other forms of the disease are Chronic Wasting Disease (deer & elk,) scrapie (sheep and goats,) and transmissible mink encephalopathy. Below is some information on the subject, as well as links to articles and other sources of information.

updated 6/10/07


Mad Cow Related Quotes of Interest

Disturbing Information

Recent Articles of Interest Found in the Media

Past Articles of Interest Found in the Media

Nations Found with Mad Cow Disease (BSE) to Date

Nations Banning U.S. Beef

Mad Cow Links



Quotes from Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, 12/23/03, regarding the recent discovery of Mad Cow Disease in the US:

"Mad cow disease has never been found in the United States before this incident despite intensive testing for it."

"Even though the risk to human health is minimal, we will take all appropriate actions out of an
abundance of caution," she said.

Veneman said the Agriculture Department has had safeguards in place since 1990 to check for mad cow disease and 20,526 cows had been tested in 2003 in the United States.

U.S. beef remains "
absolutely safe to eat," she said.

"we have one of the most
stringent inspection systems"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

SoyStache reply: DO THE MATH!

20,526 cows have been tested in 2003. From 1/03 through 11/03 there have been 32,790,000 cows slaughtered in the United States. That means less than 0.06259% of slaughtered cows are tested! That's about 6 out of 10,000. THAT IS NOT "INTENSIVE TESTING!" That is NOT a "most stringent inspection system!" I do not consider that "an abundance of caution." The government has only been testing cows showing symptoms of disease, such as downed cows. BSE may incubate in a cow for 8 years or more without showing any signs of the disease. Most cows are slaughtered at early ages (2 - 3.) That means that BSE infected cows could make it to slaughter and to the table without ever being tested.

As BSE is not fully understood and it has been established that the human form of BSE CAN be contracted from eating meat from contaminated animals, then how can US beef be proclaimed as "absolutely safe to eat?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Quotes from USDA refused to release mad cow records Michael Schwochert, a retired USDA veterinarian:

"It was almost like they didn't want to find mad cow disease," Schwochert said.

He noted he had been informed that approximately six months ago a cow displaying symptoms suggestive of mad cow disease showed up at the X-cel slaughtering plant in Ft. Morgan.

Once cows are unloaded off the truck they are required to be inspected by USDA veterinarians. However, the cow was spotted by plant employees before USDA officials saw it and "it went back out on a special truck and they called the guys in the office and said don't say anything about this," Schwochert said.

Schwochert agreed with that, saying the USDA's sparse testing means they cannot say with any confidence whether there are additional cases or not.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Quotes from: U.S. adopts mad cow safety measures to reassure consumers, trading partners

None of an annual 200,000 downer cows, meaning those that can't walk, will be sent to meat-packing plants, said Veneman, who called the safety measures "very aggressive."

[SoyStache: That should have always been the practice. But the animals are likely to be sent to rendering plants, so the diseased animals may make it back into the food chain via other animals.]

"We feel, in fact, the system we have in place now is probably a better system," Agriculture Minister Bob Speller said in Edmonton.

[SoyStache: Better, but not adequate!]

"Sound science continues to be our guide," Veneman told a news conference.

[SoyStache: That suggests they have been using "sound science." How is feeding downed cows to humans, without even testing them, "sound science?]

Asked why the safety actions weren't taken sooner, U.S. officials said they've been considering what should be done since the Canadian case.

[SoyStache: The Canadian case was announced on May 20, 2003. What were they waiting for?]

"We felt good about the system we had in place."

[SoyStache: How can they actually feel good about testing less than 6% of diseased cows that can't even stand?]

Officials have said daily that the meat supply is safe because no suspect tissues from the cow entered the food chain.

[SoyStache: They didn't ask us what tissues are suspect? Prions have been discovered in meat. That makes all muscle tissues suspect! Especially if, in the process of butchering a cow, the nervous system tissues cross-contaminate muscles (meat).]


Disturbing Information


Could Mad Cow Disease Already Be Killing Thousands Every Year?

by Michael Greger, M.D.
January 7, 2004

The US supposedly tested ALL downed cows and other cows that have shown physical symptoms of disease. NBC Nightly News mentioned 12/24/03 that 1% of all slaughtered cows are "downed" cows. If January through November 2003 has seen 32,900,000 slaughtered cows, which means the US should have tested 327,900 and the US has only tested 20,526, then they have only tested only about 6% of downed cows!!! That means about 307,374 cows that were unable to stand or walk, but shipped to processing plants, were never tested! (Might "downed cows" shipped to slaughter also include dead cows?)


Past Articles of Interest Found in the Media.

Return of the BSE Nightmare?

By Chris Rundle Farming Editor
08:00 - 02 June 2007

Horrified farmers are warning of an enormous public backlash if European Union politicians consider relaxing the ban on using animal remains in farm feed.

The ban was brought in across Europe in 2000 following fears the practice was behind the spread of BSE, which devastated the West's beef industry.

U.S. on mad cow: Don't test all cattle


The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease

The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

Agriculture Department to reduce mad cow testing by about 90 percent
By Libby Quaid, The Associated Press
Friday, July 21, 2006

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department is cutting its tests for mad-cow disease by about 90 percent, drawing protests from consumer groups.

The current testing level — 1,000 each day — reflects the heightened concern that followed the discovery in December 2003 of mad-cow disease in the United States.

Since then, tests have turned up two more cases of the disease, known medically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. The government says there may be a handful of undetected cases.

"It's time that our surveillance efforts reflect what we now know is a very, very low level of BSE in the United States," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Thursday. "There is no significant BSE problem in the United States, and after all of this surveillance, I am able to say there never was."

Critics say now is not the time to scale back on the testing, which has cost the government an estimated $1 million per week.

"It surely will not encourage consumers in the U.S. or Japan to rush to the store to buy more beef," said Carol Tucker-Foreman, food policy director for Consumer Federation.

BSE could incubate in people 50 years or more before symptoms show: study

Jun 22, 2006
Sheryl Ubelacker

TORONTO (CP) - It could take half a century or more for someone infected with prions - the cause of mad cow-like diseases - to start showing symptoms, say researchers, who drew that conclusion after studying a similar illness among Papua New Guinean people who once feasted on their dead.

Too late to shut the gate on this killer
As "mad cow" disease spreads outward from Britain, a silent epidemic of carriers in humans has begun to emerge. Jennifer Cooke reports.

May 15, 2006

THE bad news came with the death of an elderly patient in Britain two years ago. While seemingly unremarkable, this was automatically the subject of an autopsy because the patient had a blood transfusion in 1999 from a donor who had died later from the human form of mad cow disease: variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Japan Confirms 26th Mad Cow Disease Case
May 13, 2006, 2:29AM

TOKYO — Japan has confirmed its 26th case of mad cow disease, this one in a 5-year-old Holstein in the country's north, the Agriculture Ministry said Saturday.

Austria confirms fourth case of mad cow disease

May 13, 2:12

VIENNA (AFP) - Austria has confirmed it had found a fourth case of mad cow disease, this time in the northern province of Upper Austria, Health Minister Maria Rauch-Kallat said.

Animal disease employees make claims of improper waste disposal
May 11, 2006

Des Moines - Iowa Officials in Ames are looking into reports that a national animal lab is disposing animal autopsy waste in the city's wastewater treatment system.

Can gelatin transmit `mad cow disease'?

By Richard Harkness, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Fri, Apr. 07, 2006

Q: The recent case of mad cow disease in Alabama has me worried. Is it safe to take prescription and OTC products made with gelatin capsules?

A: The Alabama finding is the third confirmed case of the fatal, brain-wasting disease in cows in the United States

Gelatin is derived from the skin and bones of cattle and pigs.

It's used in making capsule and tablet formulations of prescription and OTC medicines and dietary supplements. It's also widely used in the manufacture of foods and cosmetics.

Alabama mad cow is Florida concern

By Robert Bowden, Staff Writer

ARCADIA -- When an Alabama cow died of mad cow disease two weeks ago, red flags went up in the border state of Florida.

Previously, cows with the fatal disease had been found in Washington (brought there from Canada) and Texas.

Where the Alabama cow came from is still anyone's guess, but it was about 10 years old, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. That's old by cow standards and it means that as a calf, this cow could have eaten feed containing parts of slaughtered cows.

Mad cow disease found; fourth case since 2003

CANADA Trade relations with the United States should remain the same. Meat from the cow did not enter the human food chain.

By Jeff Wilson
Bloomberg News

Canada said a cow in Alberta tested positive for mad cow disease, the fourth case since May 2003 for a domestic beef industry devastated by a two-year ban on exports.

Meat from the infected breeding cow, part of a 400-head herd, didn't enter the human food chain, Brian Evans, chief veterinary officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, said on Monday during a conference call from Edmonton, Alberta. The disease was confirmed on Sunday at a lab in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

`Downer' Cows Entering U.S. Meat Supply, Report Says (Update1)

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. beef inspectors sometimes ignore rules for screening cattle that are intended to prevent mad-cow disease, putting the nation's meat supply at risk, the Agriculture Department's Inspector General said

Mad cow may have gotten into human food supply

November 01, 2005
The Dallas Morning News, By Katie Fairbank

DALLAS _ Researchers hunting the herd linked to the first U.S. case of mad cow disease found most of the animals were slaughtered _ and possibly in the human food supply _ even before the government probe began.

Scientists publish new theory on source of BSE [Article No Longer Available]

Canadian Press
Sep. 1, 2005

TORONTO — A leading medical journal has published a disturbing theory on the origins of mad cow disease, suggesting it may have developed because human remains from the Indian subcontinent were mixed into cattle feed in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s.

The authors say the practice may still be taking place elsewhere, adding it is important to discover whether other countries are importing animal byproducts contaminated with human remains that are destined for feed mills.

Tests Confirm Second Mad Cow Case in U.S. [Article No Longer Available]

by Libby Quaid, Associated Press writer
Fri Jun 24, 2005

WASHINGTON - Exhaustive tests have confirmed mad cow disease in an animal apparently born in the United States, officials said Friday. It is the second case of the disease confirmed in this country, but Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns stressed there was no threat to public health.

FDA hasn't acted on mad cow vow [Article No Longer Available]

By Libby Quaid, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- American cattle are eating chicken litter, cattle blood and restaurant leftovers that could help transmit mad cow disease -- a gap in the U.S. defense that the Bush administration promised to close nearly 18 months ago.

    "Once the cameras were turned off and the media coverage dissipated, then it's been business as usual, no real reform, just keep feeding slaughterhouse waste," said John Stauber, an activist and co-author of Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?

Japan discovers suspected 20th case of of BSE, or mad cow disease [Article No Longer Available]

Canadian Press
June 4, 2005

TOKYO (AP) - A cow suspected of having mad cow disease has been found in northern Japan in what may be the nation's 20th case of the illness, an official said Saturday.

... Japan has found 19 animals infected with the fatal illness - formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE - since the country's first case was detected in 2001. Tokyo has since checked every slaughtered cow before it enters the food supply.

[SoyStache note: When will the US begin testing every cow like other countries? It's easy to not find mad cow cases if we don't look! Less than 1% testing is a far cry from 100%]

Mad cow disease found in French goat

CBC News, Jan 28 2005

BRUSSELS – European scientists have found mad cow disease in a goat – the first naturally occurring case known to hit a ruminant other than cattle.

Mad Cow: Don't Wait for Crisis

January 25, 2005

Federal officials should wake up to their own lack of knowledge about the risks from mad cow disease.

New scientific research underlines the fact that little is known about the illness, which can cause a fatal brain disease in people. Researchers, led by Adriano Aguzzi at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland, found that prions, which are believed responsible for mad cow disease, can live in various organs in the bodies of lab mice.

Union: Meat plants violate mad cow rules

Banned brains, spinal cords may still enter food supply

By Jon Bonné, MSNBC
Dec. 20, 2004

Parts of cattle supposedly banned under rules enacted after the nation's first case of mad cow disease are making it into the human food chain, according to the union that represents federal inspectors in meat plants.

U.S. Moving to New Ban for Mad Cow, Officials Say

By Sandra Blakeslee, July 10, 2004

Federal health officials said yesterday that in an effort to eradicate mad cow disease, they were moving toward a policy, based on the advice of international experts, to ban the feeding of any farm animal parts to other farm animals.

More Mad Cow Mischief

May 8, 2004

The federal Department of Agriculture is making it hard for anyone to feel confident that the nation is adequately protected against mad cow disease. At a time when the department should be bending over backward to reassure consumers, it keeps taking actions that suggest more concern with protecting the financial interests of the beef industry than with protecting public health.

Mad Cow Disease:The Sobering Facts

By Sean Jackman
Tuesday, February 3, 2004

We've all heard of the so-called "Mad Cow Disease," but what exactly is this disease, where did it come from and how can we become infected?

Consumer Groups Point to Holes in Cattle Feed Rules [Article No Longer Available]

By Chris Baltimore
Jan 2, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. food safety regulators should widen a 1997 ban on feeding cattle parts to other cattle to include blood, gelatin and other exempted materials which could spread mad cow disease, consumer groups said on Friday.

The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A.

By ERIC SCHLOSSER, January 2, 2004

lisa Harrison has worked tirelessly the last two weeks to spread the message that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, is not a risk to American consumers. As spokeswoman for Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Ms. Harrison has helped guide news coverage of the mad cow crisis, issuing statements, managing press conferences and reassuring the world that American beef is safe.

For her, it's a familiar message. Before joining the department, Ms. Harrison was director of public relations for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the beef industry's largest trade group, where she battled government food safety efforts, criticized Oprah Winfrey for raising health questions about American hamburgers, and sent out press releases with titles like "Mad Cow Disease Not a Problem in the U.S."

Ex-Cattleman's Warning Was No Bum Steer

. "Do the math," he says. "Any scientist will tell you that one mad cow tells you there are thousands more."

U.K. Lab Confirms U.S. Mad Cow Case [Article No Longer Available]

Dec 25, 2003
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A British lab provided initial independent confirmation Thursday that the United States has its first case of mad cow disease, U.S. agriculture officials said. Federal investigators labored to trace the path the infected animal took from birth to slaughter.

Expert Warned That Mad Cow Was Imminent

December 25, 2003

Ever since he identified the bizarre brain-destroying proteins that cause mad cow disease, Dr. Stanley Prusiner, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, has worried about whether the meat supply in America is safe.

Paul Watson: The mad cowboy's prediction comes true


USDA refused to release mad cow records

By Steve Mitchell, United Press International
12/24/2003 12:50 PM

View printer-friendly version

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The United States Department of Agriculture insisted the U.S. beef supply is safe Tuesday after announcing the first documented case of mad cow disease in the United States, but for six months the agency repeatedly refused to release its tests for mad cow to United Press International.

The USDA claims to have tested approximately 20,000 cows for the disease in 2002 and 2003, but has been unable to provide any documentation in support of this to UPI, which first requested the information in July.

In addition, former USDA veterinarians tell UPI they have long suspected the disease was in U.S herds and there are probably additional infected animals.

First suspect case of mad cow in U.S.

By Jonathan Salant, Associated Press
Tue, Dec. 23, 2003

WASHINGTON - The first-ever U.S. case of mad cow disease is suspected in a single cow in Washington state, but the American food supply is safe, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said Tuesday.

"We remain confident in the safety of our food supply," said Veneman.

How can a government official "remain confident" while knowing they only test about 6 out of every 10,000 slaughtered cows???

.Japanese Beef Industry Faces Mad Cow Threat

Amy Bickers
, 10 Oct 2003

Mad cow disease is again threatening Japan's beef industry and two global computer giants team up.

Japan has confirmed its eighth case of mad cow disease and cattle farmers and beef restaurants are bracing for a sales slump.

Latest mad cow find puts 604 cattle into

10/9/03, Associated Press

Japan has quarantined 604 cows to prevent the spread of mad cow disease after authorities found a 23-month-old bull with a possible new strain of the illness, a farm ministry official said Wednesday.

Montana tells of '97 mad-cow slaughter

By Matt Gouras

Associated Press

June 5, 2003

HELENA, Mont. -- Five bulls from a Canadian herd that included a cow diagnosed with mad-cow disease were shipped to Montana six years ago and have since

been slaughtered, state officials said Wednesday.

'Mad cow' likely fed to pigs, chickens: officials [Article No Longer Available]

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

EDMONTON (CBC) - Despite assurances that a cow infected with mad cow disease was never eaten by humans, officials said Wednesday it was likely fed to pigs and chickens – which in turn could have been on a dinner table.

Mad Cow Disease Discovered in Israel [Article No Longer Available]

June 4, 2002 Associated Press

JERUSALEM — The first case of mad cow disease has been discovered in Israel.

Officials made the announcement Tuesday after tests came back positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy on a dairy cow that died on a communal farm on the Golan Heights.

GAO: U.S. Vulnerable to 'Mad Cow'; Officials Dismiss Claim

WASHINGTON — The United States is vulnerable to the deadly mad cow disease due to significant flaws in its ban on feeding cattle the remains of other animals, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

U.S. may have imported banned beef

Web posted Saturday, February 9, 2002 Scripps Howard News Service

The United States apparently imported more than 200,000 pounds of beef last year from countries banned from selling meat products here because of their association with "mad cow disease," according to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures.


Mad cow disease: A timeline

Compiled from Times wires (from March 2001)

Is it possible to contract vCJD from cow's milk?:

BSE and CJD - an introduction for the lay reader

"Although it is impossible to say categorically that milk is safe, risks are likely to be extremely small."


It's called a CLUE... GET ONE! Physical symptoms of Mad Cow disease usually show up in older cows (5+ year olds). The incubation period of Mad Cow may be as much as 8 years or more. Cattle are slaughtered at much earlier ages (2-3), which is much sooner than when symptoms even show up. The government currently tests only "downed" cattle, which are likely "down" because of other illnesses. So... Our government now decides to "up" the testing of "downed" cattle per year from 2,000 a year to 5,000 (out of 30,000,000!) They still don't get it!


Variations of "Mad Cow" in other species:

Chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, scrapie in sheep and goats, and transmissible mink encephalopathy .


BSE ('mad cow") and vCJD information from the USDA


Nations found with "Mad Cow" cases thus far: Austria, Azores, Belgium , Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Falkland Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Oman, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States.

When will the first case be found in the US?


SoyStache Note: Scientists believe "mad cow" disease is linked to the human form of mad cow disease, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD).

SoyStache Suggestion: Eat a vegan diet!


Cause for concern?

According to the USDA: "No cases of BSE have been confirmed in the USA despite 10 years of active surveillance."

[As of 12/23/03, "active surveillance" was proven inadequate. The USA discovered a cow with BSE within their borders!]

According to the USDA Market News: 7,044,000 cattle have been slaughtered, year to date as of 3/16/01. [projected, that would be about 33,000,000 for the year!]

12,000 cattle have been tested in the US in the last 10 years (2,300 in the past year-ending 3/16/01) [about 0.007% of those slaughtered!]

"There is no test to detect the disease in a live animal." (USDA) [Not to mention no surveillance method (except, perhaps, in the most advanced stages of the disease)]


*Nations Banning U.S. Beef
(as of 1/3/04)
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada (ban limited to processed meats)
  • Chile
  • China, including Hong Kong
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Indonesia
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Ukraine
  • United States of America (12/03)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam

* Source: Associated Press


Mad Cow Links:

Test Cows Now! - A website with additional information and articles about Mad Cow disease, with an online petition to require widescale testing of US cows.

Organic Consumers Association Mad Cow Page - Campaigning for Food Safety, Organic Agriculture, Fair Trade & Sustainability - A vital source of regularly upgraded data for scientists, business, the media and the public.

PrionData mad cow links

Deer, Elk, get Mad Cow Disease

BSE (Mad Cow Disease) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

BSE and CJD Information and Resources from the CDC

CJD Information and Resources from the CDC

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - from the US Food and Drug Administration

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - from APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspeciton Service (USDA)

BSE Information and Updates - from the USDA


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