The Ramblings of Annie Abalam

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Mad Cow Disease

on April 17, 2012

According to “What’s up with mad cow?” Mad Cow Disease is on the rise again.  Marion Nestle of Food Politics discusses the program implemented to keep track of Mad Cow cases on feedlots.  Only 40,000 cows of the 34 million slaughtered annually are tested for the Mad Cow Disease (bovine  spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)).  She defines BSE as “a fatal disease caused by abnormal proteins (prions) in the brain and nervous system.”

I will forever be the USDA’s greatest enemy.  The fact that they cannot be bothered to test more than .11% of the population says something in itself.  Nestle’s post states that there were 29 cases in 2011.  I would not hesitate argue that there were significantly more cases that were untested.  I simply cannot wrap my brain around the USDA’s logic when they only test such an incredibly small sample of the population.  The Wall Street Journal article Nestle referenced stated that by the time the carcass got to the animal rendering plant, there was no way of tracing the cow’s origins.  How is this possible? How can the USDA allow animals to leave CAFOs with no way of tracking where they came from? When E. coli O157:H7 is found at a processing plant, the plant is left with no way to determine what CAFO is supplying cows with this deadly disease.  It makes absolutely no sense.

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