Punked! Mad Cow in America

June 1, 2011


Photo from Farm Sanctuary collection

Just when we think that nothing else about animal agriculture can shock us...The following post is summarized from Gabe Kirchheimer's incredible, must-read article Bovine Bioterrorism and the Perfect Pathogen.

While the US government continues to deny the existence of mad cow disease in America, autopsies, studies, statistical probabilities, and private research proves—as usual, that the USDA serves to protect agricultural and financial interests rather than protect the American public (expected from an entity notorious for corroborating with their buddy-lobbyists, for example, at the National Cattleman's Beef Association). Meanwhile, a massive epidemic is brewing. Just another goddamn good reason we don't eat animals to begin with.

Here's the deal: The parent group of chronic wasting diseases that turn brain tissue to sponge in cows, deer, sheep, goats, and humans is called TSE, transmissable spongiform encephalopathiess. BSE aka "Mad Cow" disease is the bovine form; in humans it's called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), in sheep and goats Scrapie, and in deer Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). In humans, it is a devastating disease, starting with tremors and memory loss and increasing with violent seizures, hysterical breakdowns, mental deterioration, and loss of speech and faculties. The disease is caused by forced cannibalism (routine in U.S. animal ag), feeding cattle corpses back to animals. These animals become infected with abnormal "prions"—malformed proteins that comprise an entirely new class of pathogens. With no genetic material, and able to withstand routine sterilization (scary! Even HIV is neutralized in boiling temps), these abnormal prions spread upon contact causing a cellular domino effect until the host loses nervous system function, suffers fatal holes in the brain, and dies.

SOME FACTS ABOUT DOMESTIC INFECTION:

•Some autopsies of patients who had Alzheimers/dementia have tested positive for actually having CJD. With upwards of 2 million Alzheimers cases in the U.S., there could be a "hidden epidemic," even if only a fraction of Alzheimers turned out to be CJD.

•On animal farms, BSE "mad" cows, who behave just like downer cows (thought to be just too sick to stand), are often rendered into animal feed without testing, possible leaving thousands of infected animals unchecked as they are processed and distributed.



•In 1985, a Wisconsin investigation of a mink encephalopathy outbreak revealed that the minks' diet was primarily downer cows.

•One in a million cows develop BSE naturally. With 100 million cows in the U.S., approximately 100 cows could be infectious carriers at any given time.

•Leading researchers from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control's National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, the Consumer Policy Institute of the Consumer's Union, and a Nobel Prize winner who discovered prions all contend that mad cow exists in the U.S.

THE DANGERS:

•Meat:
The USDA has banned feeding cows to cows. But concentrated in brains and spinal tissue, TSE can not easily be kept out of the human food supply because of modern slaughter practices. AMR (advanced meat recovery) machines, widely used in modern slaughterhouses, mechanically strip flesh from spines, often leaving spinal cord fragments and nervous system tissue in the meat. AMR meat paste (which looks like pink ice cream) is used to make hundreds of millions of pounds of hot dogs, nuggets, hamburgers, pizza toppings, and taco fillings.



•Blood donations, transfusions, etc:
CJD can take decades to incubate. Meanwhile, infected blood donors, whose donations are fractioned and sent around the globe (in one particular case to 46 different countries), could be responsible for spreading CJD to thousands of people around the world. Because the USDA denies mad cow's domestic existence, entities like the American Red Cross don't test their blood collections for CJD.

•Vaccines:
Vaccines use and are grown in human/animal embryonic fluids, for example fetal cow serum, which cannot be guaranteed free from abnormal prions. These vaccines include polio, diptheria, tetanus, flu shots, and hepatitis.

•Drugs:
Many drugs contain bovine by-products including growth hormones, adrenaline products, cortisone, insulin, ulcer medication, and common blood coagulants used in surgery.

•Supplements:
A currently popular supplement (especially in Eastern medicine and popping up in the non-vegan raw food world) is Deer Antler, which may be high risk for CWD as velvet is collected from growing antlers that contain nerve tissue and blood.

Even if the USDA does officially "discover" that BSE exists in the U.S., they would most likely try and avoid an industry collapse by suppressing the information. The revolving door between the government, the USDA, the FDA, and animal agricultural lobbyists is always in full effect. They don't like to let each other down. If you still think the USDA is like a good parent watching out for us, you're getting punked.

Your best bet? Stop eating animals, use 100% vegan supplements only, and get help to wean yourself from unnecessary medications. I don't even think it's a crazy idea to bank your own blood in case of emergency.