|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
Mad Cow Disease in America?
Do we have Mad Cow Disease in America? In my opinion, we do not. In 1907, Dr. Alzheimer published a treatise regarding a disease that would one day carry his name. He also mentored two young associates, Dr. Creutzfeldt and Dr. Jakob. They too identified a similar brain-wasting disease that now has Europe in a panic. The brains of cows turn into a sponge- like mass and their behavior is called "mad." The version of this disease affecting cows is called bovine spongiform encephalitis, or BSE. The human variant of Mad Cow Diesease has been named Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease, or CJD. The protein causing CJD has no DNA, and has been described as more like a crystal than cellular material. In labs, 1000 degree Fahrenheit heat does not destroy this protein particle. Some scientists say that once infected, the incubation period can last anywhere from one month to thirty years. As the human brain turns into a sponge, this spongioform encephalitic condition physically debilitates those so infected. Many "activists" believe that the American government is not doing enough to detect bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE), better known as Mad Cow Disease. I believe otherwise. I've known USDA veterinarian, Linda Detwiler, for five years, and have spoken to her on many occasions. She oversees the BSE inspection program in the United States. During the year 2000, Linda tested the brains of 5,200 cattle. During the past 12 months, she's tested 17,886 cows and beef cattle, and has not yet found one instance of BSE. Every time there is a suspected case, Linda and her team jets to the location. If just one case of Mad Cow Disease is detected in America that could mean the end of our cattle industry. Many BSE activists believe that USDA is testing the "wrong" animals. Each year, an estimated 800,000 cows drop to their knees, unable to walk. Slaughterhouses are prohibited from processing the meat from these creatures, called "downer cows." BSE critics feel that USDA should be testing these animals. In fact, that is exactly what Detwiler and crew have been doing. Last year, 62% of the animals tested were downer cows. Does one get BSE by eating meat from infected animals? I wonder. I've discussed this issue with two scientists who have been awarded Nobel Prizes for describing the mechanisms of brain-wasting disesease. Neither Stanley Prussiner nor Carleton Gadjusek had definitive answers to my questions. If these two experts do not know, nobody knows. My question: Since a cow filters 10,000 liters of blood through her udder each day, and since the Red Cross prohibits blood donors who have visited England from donating blood, should not milk be considered white blood? Note: The average liter of milk sold in America last year contained 322 million dead white blood cells. Could not every case of Mad Cow Disease in Europe have been caused by the consumption of cheese or milk? On August 23, 1997, during the height of the Mad Cow "epidemic," English writer Michael Hornsby reported in the London Times: "A 24-year-old vegetarian has been diagnosed with Cruetzfeld-Jacob disease. Scientists fear that milk and cheese may be the source of infection." Fear of Mad Cow Disease in America is not a reason to avoid eating meat. There are many more sound reasons not to eat the flesh of cows, both ethical and health related. Saturated animal fat, cholesterol, and sulfur-based amino acids in animal products do not do the human body any good. Nor do the concentrated levels of dioxins, pesticides, and antibiotics.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dairy Education Board
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