posted on Jan, 15 2004 @ 06:29 PM
Lowdown from a friend in Beef industry (cattle farmer) ;
Mad Cow Disease or BSE as it's known was discovered on a US farm on Dec 23. Since then it's subsequently been traced back to an Dairy operation from
Alberta. Most of the importers of US beef immediately closed their doors to ANY beef imports after that.
We in Canada have been dealing with BSE crisis since a beef animal was found to have had it and was reported on May 20,2003. When that took place our
border was closed to any exports or live or frozen-boxed beef. I hear that even if you had a Big Mac in your hands as you were crossing the border,the
customs Nazis made you throw it out.
A little Biology before I go any further. BSE is a disease that's carried in what's called a prion (sp?) These prions show up in the cattle's
brain,eyes,spinal cord and occasionaly the small intestine. So when those portions of the animal are removed from the carcass(which most of it is
anyway)...there is zero chance of it being in with the beef. Further more animals UNDER 30 months of age have rarely contracted the disease,even in
the UK where they had a massive BSE outbreak. Most animals that are processed for consumption are under 2 years of age. Combine this with the fact
that there have only been 2 animals found out of MILLIONS of cattle in North America,and you have an infinitessimal chance of getting sick from eating
BSE tainted meat.
I know there are 12 million bovine in Canada. I'm not sure of the latest numbers from the US,but it has to be in the area of 50 million or more! I
will double check on that figure.
How does BSE infect cattle? Some think it's a mineral inbalance in the cattle,but most think the main proccess of infection is by way of cattle
eating feed that has been tainted with the renderings of other ruminants. Meaning?...ruminants are animals with multi-stomachs;cattle,sheep,goats,any
deer,elk or Caribou. When beef are killed,there are many by-products of processing......hides,bones,organs,fat,etc. A lot of this is rendered into dog
or cat food,fish meat etc. But some of it like bone meal would be mixed in with animal feed. It provides a cheap,and readily available source or
protien. This is fine for farm animals like Swine or birds (layers,broilers,turkeys etc.) but can cause problems when fed BACK to any ruminants. This
is what caused the major outbreak in the UK. They were feeding the infected animal renderings back to the herd.
>>A HUGE no-no