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From the News Archives ..

The fear of Mad Cow disease spreads throughout Europe

Now that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE or "mad cow disease," has been found in French, German, Spanish, and English cows, alarm is spreading throughout Europe. BSE is believed to be caused by feeding ruminants the ground up carcasses of other ruminants, in essence turning herbivores into cannibals.

European ranchers are hoping to substitute soy for the now suspect animal meal, but that raises another problem: they need to replace an estimated 2.5 million tons of the animal by-products, which outstrips the European supply of soy. Also, much of the soy available for import from the United States has been genetically modified, and Europe's legions of Green consumers will reject gm beef.

Will mad cow disease be found in American herds? The United States has banned the use of meat and bone meal in ruminant diets since 1997, greatly reducing the risk of BSE. Meat by-products are still being fed to non-ruminants, however, and it is possible for feed mix-ups to occur.

People who purchase 100% grass-finished beef do not have to worry about such a possibility. The cattle are fattened on their natural diet of grass with no gm grain or "by-product feedstuff" of any kind. (As you will learn from an earlier posting, grassfed cattle are also less likely to convey E. coli bacteria.)


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