After happening upon a case of mad cow disease
at a California rendering plant during its testing of less than 0.5 percent of
cows, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now searching for the
infected animal’s offspring, where her mother ended up, and her mother’s other offspring,
as all of them could
potentially be infected, too
. If an infected cow is
slaughtered, the tainted meat could cause a degenerative brain disorder known
as variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD)
in anyone who ingests
it. The disease, which is always fatal, causes sponge-like holes in the brain.

Also of concern in this case is the fact
that milk from the infected cow may have been sold for human consumption. The
USDA claims that vCJD cannot be contracted by consuming the milk of infected
animals, but as a Mother Jones article points out, the sheep form of the disease, scrapie, has indeed been
shown to pass from mother to offspring through milk.

The Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, posits that because
the number of cows the USDA tests is so low—less than half of 1 percent of the
nearly 34 million slaughtered annually—many cases could be and likely are going
undetected. Jean Halloran, Consumers Union director of food policy initiatives,

The fact we found one in 40,000 could actually
be interpreted as worrisome. Does that mean if we tested 80,000 we’d find two?
… Our testing program is so small it can’t give us even a ball-park idea of
whether we have a problem here or not.

If the lack of adequate testing makes
you think the USDA may be playing Russian roulette with our health, consider
that we do the same thing every time we bite into a piece of meat that increases
our risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. And then order a slew
of free vegetarian/vegan
starter kits
for the people you love
who still eat meat.

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Article source: PETA Files

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