Mad Cow Disease is
An Insidious Brain Killer
And it is Everywhere
If you are a meat eater, the chance is good that you are dying of Mad Cow Disease.
The disease, scientifically called bovine spongiform encephalopathy,
eats holes in the brain of infected animals (and humans), drives the victim insane. By the time they die, the brain tissue
looks like a block of gray Swiss cheese.
First publicized in 1995 when there was an outbreak among infected beef cattle
in England, the disease has silently spread all over the world. The odds are very high that the beef, pork, chicken and mutton
you buy, or the deer you shoot, is infected with the prion that brings the onset of this insidious disease.
you say? I issued a warning about this problem at least three years ago while working as a reporter and columnist for an Arizona
newspaper. People thought I was crazy then too. But look at the latest information, now being issued by medical reports.
recent issue of New Science reported that while most people throughout Europe believe they have little
chance of catching Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (the human form of Mad Cow) scientists advising the European Commission say they
have every reason to be worried.
That is because infected meat, meat by-products or contaminated animal feed made from
pulverized bones and internal organs of infected livestock have been carelessly shipped to nine other European countries including
Germany, Italy and Spain plus Canada, Australia and the United States.
In the U.S., forms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy
are appearing in sheep and wild animals, including deer and elk, although the disease has been concealed under different names.
In sheep it is known as "scrapie," and in the wild animals it is called "chronic wasting disease." There have been a growing
number of cases of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in humans in Europe, mostly in England, and the disease is showing up now among
humans in the U. S. Granted that few, if any, cases have yet been reported among our dairy and beef cattle.
it be here and stay so concealed? That is because the disease sometimes can be very slow to make its appearance. It has been
known to remain dormant in victims for as long as 30 years. Even though the infection may be present, there is not enough
time for it to show up in beef cows, chickens or hogs that are primarily raised for meat. These animals only remain alive
for a few months until they are fully grown, then they are slaughtered. Many animals are fed growth hormones to make them
grow larger and develop faster so they produce more meat faster.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is best known in
sheep, which are maintained over long periods of time for their wool, dairy cows which are kept for years while they remain
good milk producers, and the wild deer and elk that escape the hunter's gun long enough to contract the disease. Dairy farmers
cull their herds, often butchering livestock when milk production drops significantly, which may be an early sign of the onset
of Mad Cow Disease.
MLO Magazine, a publication for hospital personnel, doctors and medical technologists, recently
published an extensive report on the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy for people who handle and eat meat and meat
products in Europe and the United States.
The article said Dr. Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco, in 1997 was awarded the
Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of the prion, the common thread linking all of these brain diseases in animals and
Prions are an abnormal type of disease-causing substance. They are not classified as viruses, bacteria, fungi
or parasites. Instead, the only way to describe them is to say that they are a type of protein constructed from a set of 20
amino acids. Strangely enough, all living creatures, including humans, contain this protein. What seems to be happening is
that a new maverick strain of this protein has developed which damages brain tissue through a process of vacuolation, making
neurons appear like sponges with pitted holes.
The scary part of this story is that this new type of prion seems to
be indestructible. The report said research found that "prions can survive the pressurized steam of autoclaves, filtration,
extreme heat, radiation, formaldehyde and decades of freezing." Also it is clear that they cross species, and can be spread
by blood transfusion and feeding on infected animals and animal parts.
Cooking the meat thoroughly will not protect
the consumer from becoming infected. Also receiving blood, or perhaps even coming in contact with blood from an infected person
may introduce the prion to a new victim.
Also frightening is that to date, no tests exist that help medical people
determine the presence of "mad cow disease" prions in stored blood. The best that can be done is to accumulate a complete
background of information from blood donors and hope they are truthful. The article recommends that blood donations be refused
from anyone who has been diagnosed with CJD, persons who have received transplant or human growth hormone, persons who have
spent time in Europe, and persons who have injected bovine insulin since 1980.
This writer became a vegetarian after
studying the threat of Mad Cow Disease about three years ago. It is my belief that anyone eating meat or meat products, including
dairy products, is playing Russian roulette.