By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Mad Cow USA?

Mad Cow Disease in America?

Do we have Mad Cow Disease in America?

In my opinion, we do not.

In 1907, Dr. Alzheimer published a treatise regarding a
disease that would one day carry his name. He also mentored
two young associates, Dr. Creutzfeldt and Dr. Jakob. They
too identified a similar brain-wasting disease that now has
Europe in a panic. The brains of cows turn into a sponge-
like mass and their behavior is called "mad."

The version of this disease affecting cows is called bovine
spongiform encephalitis, or BSE. The human variant of Mad
Cow Diesease has been named Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease, or

The protein causing CJD has no DNA, and has been described
as more like a crystal than cellular material. In labs, 1000
degree Fahrenheit heat does not destroy this protein
particle. Some scientists say that once infected, the
incubation period can last anywhere from one month to thirty
years. As the human brain turns into a sponge, this
spongioform encephalitic condition physically debilitates
those so infected.

Many "activists" believe that the American government is not
doing enough to detect bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE),
better known as Mad Cow Disease.

I believe otherwise. I've known USDA veterinarian, Linda
Detwiler, for five years, and have spoken to her on many
occasions. She oversees the BSE inspection program in the
United States.

During the year 2000, Linda tested the brains of 5,200
cattle. During the past 12 months, she's tested 17,886 cows
and beef cattle, and has not yet found one instance of BSE.
Every time there is a suspected case, Linda and her team
jets to the location.

If just one case of Mad Cow Disease is detected in America
that could mean the end of our cattle industry.

Many BSE activists believe that USDA is testing the "wrong"
animals. Each year, an estimated 800,000 cows drop to their
knees, unable to walk. Slaughterhouses are prohibited from
processing the meat from these creatures, called "downer
cows." BSE critics feel that USDA should be testing these

In fact, that is exactly what Detwiler and crew have been
doing. Last year, 62% of the animals tested were downer

Does one get BSE by eating meat from infected animals? I
wonder. I've discussed this issue with two scientists who
have been awarded Nobel Prizes for describing the mechanisms
of brain-wasting disesease. Neither Stanley Prussiner nor
Carleton Gadjusek had definitive answers to my questions. If
these two experts do not know, nobody knows.

My question:

Since a cow filters 10,000 liters of blood through her udder
each day, and since the Red Cross prohibits blood donors who
have visited England from donating blood, should not milk be
considered white blood? Note: The average liter of milk sold
in America last year contained 322 million dead white blood
cells. Could not every case of Mad Cow Disease in Europe
have been caused by the consumption of cheese or milk?

On August 23, 1997, during the height of the Mad Cow
"epidemic," English writer Michael Hornsby reported in the
London Times:

"A 24-year-old vegetarian has been diagnosed with
Cruetzfeld-Jacob disease. Scientists fear that milk and
cheese may be the source of infection."

Fear of Mad Cow Disease in America is not a reason to avoid
eating meat. There are many more sound reasons not to eat
the flesh of cows, both ethical and health related.
Saturated animal fat, cholesterol, and sulfur-based amino
acids in animal products do not do the human body any good.
Nor do the concentrated levels of dioxins, pesticides, and

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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