Mad Cow Disease

Topics: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, Beef Pages: 7 (1996 words) Published: January 31, 2009
Mad Cow Disease
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Effect on America’s Food Supply
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise referred to as Mad Cow Disease, and the human form Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vDJD), is a disorder of the brain that can cause death in animals and humans alike (Becker 2006). This paper attempts to explore the different facets of the disease and other areas that were affected as a result thereof: • The cause

• The effect on animals
• The effect on humans
• The implication to the economy of the United States • Distrust in the United States ability to safeguard the food supply
Almost twenty years ago, the disease Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), a virus that first affects the brain, was revealed in Great Britain. The discovery was also made that not only livestock, but humans were susceptible to the illness (Becker 2006). Scientists have never been able to trace the origin of the disease, but many believe that a protein called Prion is the cause for TSE. The Prion is a complicated little protein, as it develops in several shapes. The Prion has the ability to move over to the adjoining protein, and causes it to change its structure. What purpose the Prion plays in the brain has not been discovered to this point. Some scientist believe that a substance found in and around the brain in some way affect the part of the brain that produces memory (Environmental Literacy Council 2006). In 1996, a possibly connection was made between the BSE in animals and the vCJD in people. According to the Environmental Literacy Council, one should be informed about the process of spreading the disease. The prion, that causes the disease does not move through the air as the cold virus does. To be infected with TSE, the infected part of the diseased animal must be consumed, either by humans or animals (2006). A common speculation among scientist is that cattle consume feed produced by mixing bone meal, and left over waste from the slaughterhouses.Another theory still relates to the feed, but also uses human remains of people possibly infected with Ceutzfeldt Jacob Diseases (Hodges 2005). The outbreak of the Mad Cow Disease in Great Britain was attributed to the feeding of protein comprised of scrapings from areas that had previously housed infected sheep (Environmental Literacy Council 2006).

American people were unaware of the dangers they faced as no warning had been issued from the United States Department of Agriculture. Some activist claimed that the information was deliberately kept from the public. Others stated that the people were finally informed due to the discovery of the disease in one animal in the United States. Statements given by veterinarians, who had worked for the government earlier, reported that for at least 20 years it was suspected that the disease was in the United States. The staggering figures that have emerged since 1986, show that at least 187,000 cattle have been afflicted with BSE and over 150 humans (Becker 1-6).

The United States Department of Education increased the number of cattle being tested, but still only approximately .01 percent of the slaughtered cattle were targeted. The remaining beef, not tested, was either consumed by people or animals. In 2004, the USDA made several changes concerning the regulation of meat. The major changes banned the use of brains, spinal cords, and some tissues from livestock over the age of thirty months.

Public opinion has not been favorable concerning the government’s accountability system. Some complaints questioned the time it had taken to get the news to the public. Others felt that faster action was needed to restrict materials that could be used in animal’s feed. The method of sampling and reporting also came under fire (Pennings 2002).

Howard Lyman, former cattleman, appeared on the nationally televised Oprah Winfrey’s afternoon television show telling the viewing audience...

Cited: Becker, Geoffrey. "CRS Report for Congress: BSE ("Mad Cow Disease"):
A Brief Overview." Congressional Research Service 1(2006): 1-6.
“Mad Cow Disease”. The Environmental Literacy Council. 2006:11 November 2007

November 10, 2007.
Hodges, John. "Developments and Mysteries of BSE (Mad Cow Disease)
And CJD Livestock Production Science 97 (2005): 27-80.
Lyman, Howard F. How to Tell the Truth and Get in Trouble. 1st ed. Vol. 1, New York:
Simon and Schuster, 2001, 1-224.
“Pennings, Joost . “A Note on Modeling Consumer Reactions to a Crisis: the case of
The Mad Cow Disease.” International Journal of Research in Marketing 19 (2002): 91-100, 24 Sept-Oct, 2007
Poulin, Denis, “Mad Cow Disease and Beef Trade.” Rev. of Outbreak of Disease in
Cattle, Business and Trade Statistics 1 Oct-Nov, 2003: 1-7.
And CJD Livestock Production Science 97 (2005): 27-80.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Mad Cow Disease Essay
  • The Horrifying Details of Mad Cow Disease Essay
  • Mad Cow Essay
  • Mad Cow Disease Essay
  • Essay about Mad Cow Disease
  • Cows Essay
  • Essay on The Impact of Media Hype on Consumer Demand: the Case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States
  • Alzheimers Disease Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free