T Nation

Mad Cow......


It was here and now it's gone, your thoughts?


Much ado about nothing.


It was never a scare in the U.S. That was a tactic(scam) used by the folks on the CBT to sell the market short and make huge profits. Fat cattle were selling at $1.00/lb, which was 'to high' and the good ole boys in Chicago decided to take everyone down a peg or two


My thoughts: I don't want it.

I buy only New Zealand grass fed beef. MMMMMMMM...NZ rib eye...That's what we'll be eating when you make it out for a visit...:wink:


Beef, it's what's for dinner.


I'm not sure what my thoughts are but if you had to choose to be the top scientist in any field of choice or have Mad Cow, which would you choose?


It will be back, but its not going to stop me from eating beef!


Nothing like sloppy martian lovemaking... with a sandwich


I'm glad the cows have gotten over their beef.


Mad cow is a "slow" virus (I believe prion is the proper term). I don't know the incubation period of mad cow per se, but other prions have incubation periods (time between when you are exposed, and when you contract the disease) on the order of 10-20 years. Think about it. I'm not saying that we will have any more problems in this country, necessarily. But it ain't gone for good.


I was a little worried it was going to filter over to the elk population, but now that its gone... I can breath a big sigh of relief!


Sabrina, I am sure that I will be making a trip out there soon for more than one reason :slight_smile:

Teela: I suppose that I would want to be the top scientist in my field, why would I pick Mad Cow?

Once again, Will Ferrel rules. So does Harry Caray.


"That was a tactic(scam) used by the folks on the CBT to sell the market short..."

A "high-steaks" commodities market play, as it were...




What was he mad about in the first place? :wink:

Actually,it's still around, just not as prevalent in the news. Mad Cow (BSE) is a strange disease. It has a long icubation period sometimes greater than ten years, so it's difficult to detect when contracted. When humans contract it from infected beef, it's called variant Creutzfeldt Jakob's disease (vCJD). Because of the long incubation period there could be hundreds or even thousands of people with it now, but won't manifest symptoms until years later.

Another strange thing about it is that it's caused by a protein called a prion. A malformed protein causes other protein strands to mimick it's malformed shape and it develops into clusters typically in the brain and sometimes along the spinal cord. This baffles scientists because a protein is totally void of any type of nucleic acid.

If you look at a virus, it contains a nucleic acid which is coded with information and that's how it's able to control other cells. But prions don't cotain nucleic acid and are still able to make other proteins become malformed somehow. That's why it's hard to get a handle on how to combat it other than prevention.

BSE and vCJD are types of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). There are other kinds out there as well like scrapie (sheep), chronic wasting disease (deer and elk), CJD (this type occurs in humans, but is inherited rather than contracted). Scrapie has been known about for over two hundred years, I think it was first discovered in Scotland. But we still know very little about it.

It's a fascinating topic IMO.


Oh good Knockers! I was afraid you would choose Mad Cow!


How much more do you think we can "milk" out of this thread?


Teela, why would I choose mad cow? Silly!


I think the point is mooooot now.

This disease is udderly ridiculous.

This thread has been very reVEALing.

LOL, man I'm a loser. Let's see how many more bad jokes we can come up with.


It is still a concern.

Lest you think I'm losing my touch (Bad George Bush! George Bush Bad!) Bush has appointed the lobbyists, spokesmen, lawyers and respresentatives to the regulatory positions of the same industries they used to be employed by. The lunatics are running the asylum

Feds may investigate Canadian beef imports
Washington, DC, May. 27 (UPI)

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official is considering an investigation into why the agency allowed the import of banned Canadian beef products.

USDA officials acknowledged last week that from September 2003 to April 2004, they had quietly allowed the importation of millions of pounds of processed Canadian beef products that had been banned due to concerns about mad cow disease.

David Gray, counsel to Office of Inspector General, told UPI the issue is being looked into, but at this point no decisions have been made whether to launch an investigation.

"We're evaluating what's been reported in the media regarding the importation of processed Canadian beef," Gray said.

If the OIG proceeds with an investigation, it would be the fourth involving mad cow disease-related issues since the first case of the deadly disease in U.S. herds was discovered in December.

The banned Canadian beef products, which included ground beef, hot dogs and sausage, had been prohibited by the USDA after a Canadian cow tested positive for mad cow disease in May 2003.


Group Doubts USDA Chief's Beef Denial
May 24, 2004
- STEVE MITCHELL, United Press International
United Press International

The cattlemen's group that uncovered the U.S. Department of Agriculture had been allowing banned Canadian beef products into the United States despite concerns about mad cow disease said it doubts Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman's denial she was unaware the products were being imported.

The group, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, told United Press International there were numerous indications Veneman would have been aware millions of pounds of Canadian ground beef and other processed beef products -- such as hot dogs and sausages -- were moving across the border for months after the agency banned such items last year.

The USDA barred all Canadian beef imports in May 2003, after a Canadian cow tested positive for mad cow disease. The ban later was relaxed in August to permit entry of certain items, but it still applied to ground beef and other processed beef products.

"It's unfathomable that the secretary did not know," Bill Bullard, chief executive officer of R-CALF USA, told UPI. Bullard cited the eight-month time period the banned products were being imported into the United States and high-level decisions regarding the issue made by the agency during that time as indications Veneman likely knew or had been informed about the issue by other USDA officials.

The USDA acknowledged, during a recent action in federal court by R-CALF, it had been allowing the banned products to be brought across the border. That case resulted in an injunction halting proposed expansion of Canadian beef imports.

During a news briefing Friday, Veneman's spokeswoman Alisa Harrison said, "Secretary Veneman was not aware of the additional process product coming into the United States."

Harrison was reacting to an article in The Washington Post that described how the USDA quietly allowed the importation of 33 million pounds of the banned Canadian processed beef products under a plan where companies could apply for certificates that exempted their product from the ban.

The denial, which Harrison and other USDA representatives reiterated several times, appeared to be an effort to distance Veneman from the allegations of wrongdoing, which other agency officials admitted during the briefing.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., last Thursday urged President Bush to seek Veneman's resignation over the issue, charging the USDA had not adequately informed the public it was allowing the banned beef products to be imported.

"Those products were being imported as early as September," Bullard said, adding that Canadian and USDA officials must have had numerous conversations about imports in that time-frame. Mad cow disease "is one of the most high-profile issues this agency has faced ... so the secretary had to have known these products were coming across," he said.

"It's simply unfathomable the secretary would not have been keeping abreast of this extremely important issue" and other USDA officials would not have informed her this was occurring, Bullard said.

He noted the agency issued a proposal in October 2003 to classify Canada as a minimal-risk country for mad cow disease, which appeared to be at odds with recommendations put forth by the World Animal Health Organization, otherwise known as OIE.

The USDA generally abides by OIE's recommendations, so "this had to be a high-level decision, because it's in contradiction with OIE standards," Bullard said. The decision, announced in an Oct. 31, 2003 news release that quoted Veneman, would have allowed the importation of live cattle and other meat products from Canada.

The department maintained its decision was in accord with OIE's criteria, which includes a stipulation that at least seven years must have passed since a country's last mad cow case before it can be declared at minimal risk for the disease.

The banned products that were imported are of particular concern, R-CALF contends, because ground beef and other processed beef items have a high likelihood of containing central nervous system tissue that could contain the mad cow pathogen, which can infect humans and cause a fatal, incurable brain illness called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

"Because it is almost impossible to produce bone-in meat and ground meat without the possibility of the meat being contaminated with spinal cord and other neurological materials believed to carry the agent for BSE, USDA's decision to allow importation of those products from Canada increases the risk of contracting vCJD from the U.S. meat supply, as well as reinforcing and increasing the perception of consumers that U.S. meat carries that increased risk," R-CALF wrote in its legal memorandum filed April 23 in U.S. District Court in Billings, Mont.

The scientific name for mad cow disease is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

During the Friday briefing, Ron DeHaven, administrator of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, acknowledged the agency had erred in allowing the imported beef products. But he added that all the items were of low-risk, having come from products that would have qualified for entry under the USDA's provisions if they had come across the border in their raw form and had not been processed.

"Clearly the process and our failure to announce some of these actions was flawed," DeHaven said. "From a scientific basis they were all scientifically sound and didn't represent any additional risk to the U.S. public."

The USDA also disputed the assessment that 33 million pounds of processed beef product had come across the border from September 2003 to April 2004. The agency said its data indicated the actual number was closer to 7 million pounds.

Bullard contended the USDA's actions in allowing in Canadian beef products has contributed to the financial hit ranchers and other cattle producers have suffered because foreign countries have closed their borders to U.S. beef.

"The actions by USDA have contributed significantly to the closing of markets by our trading partners," Bullard said. "Their ongoing actions continue to make it difficult to resume trade."

Japan, the largest importer of U.S. beef -- prior to closing its borders after the discovery of a mad cow-infected animal in Washington last December -- has insisted the agency test all cows for the disease, but the USDA steadfastly has refused and also has blocked private firms that wished to test all their cattle voluntarily.

"We've lost an export market of 1 billion pounds annually," Bullard said, referring to the amount of beef products Japan and South Korea previously imported. That amounts to perhaps billions of dollars in lost revenue, he said.

R-CALF had petitioned Veneman and other USDA departments repeatedly since the Canadian infected cow was detected in May 2003 not to relax the standards for trading with a country known to have mad cow disease in its herds. Prior to the Canadian case, the USDA's policy was not to accept live cattle or beef products from BSE-infected countries, but it made an exception for Canada when it decided to allow in certain products it considered low-risk in August.

For reasons that remain unclear, the agency extended that decision to include the ground beef and other processed products in some cases. The agency planned to relax the ban even further in April, which is what prompted R-CALF to file a legal order seeking an injunction.

This might not have been the first time the USDA has violated its own ban on beef products imported from countries known to have cases of mad cow disease, however. R-CALF noted in a Jan. 5, 2004, letter to the USDA and to Congress that the agency apparently had violated the ban on several previous occasions.

In 2001, for example, a New York Times article reported a total of 756,000 pounds of banned European meat was discovered in U.S. warehouses in three states, R-CALF wrote in the letter.

In 2002, R-CALF obtained a report from the USDA's Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service indicating at least three countries with confirmed cases of mad cow disease had imported beef into the United States in 2001. R-CALF said it filed two Freedom of Information Act requests in 2002 to help clarify whether banned beef had actually been imported, but the USDA has not responded to either request.

The USDA might have been able to avoid the first case of mad cow in U.S. herds in December if it had heeded R-CALF's warnings.

In March 2001, more than two years before the discovery of the mad cow in Canada, R-CALF advised President Bush to halt the import of live cattle from Canada for three years until increased safeguards against BSE could be implemented. This same advice was given to USDA officials and members of Congress in June of the same year.

If this step had been followed, the Washington case could have been prevented, R-CALF said, because that cow, which originated from Canada, was not imported into the United States until October 2001 -- some seven months after the organization's recommendation to Bush.

"We had been, ever since the August decision, trying to encourage the agency not to relax the standards," on importing beef from mad cow-infected countries, Bullard said. "But our appeals fell on deaf ears."