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25,000 Pounds of Bison Heads Recalled

Written by PETA | April 6, 2010
Jairo S. Feris Delgado / CC by 3.0

By now, most of us have pretty much forgotten what mad cow disease is—all we remember is that it’s scary and that we don’t want to catch it. Well, the recent recall of 25,000 pounds of bison heads because of the risk of mad cow disease just might have people scrambling for their medical dictionaries.

Here’s a little refresher course: Mad cow disease essentially eats holes in the brain and is always fatal. In humans, it initially causes memory loss and erratic behavior. Over a period of months, victims gradually lose all ability to care for themselves or communicate, and eventually, they die. The disease has been traced to farmers’ cost-cutting practice of mixing bits of dead animals’ neural tissue into the feed of cattle, who are naturally herbivorous. If cattle eat the brains of cattle who already have mad cow disease, or of sheep suffering from a similar disease called “scrapie,” the cattle can develop the disease. If humans eat flesh (and possibly milk) from infected animals, they can develop the human version of the disease, called “new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.” The disease is caused by misshapen proteins called “prions.” Prions are virtually indestructible—they aren’t destroyed by cooking, disinfecting, or freezing.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the tonsils must be removed from cows and other ruminants who are slaughtered in order to prevent the spread of mad cow disease, something that a bison slaughterhouse in North Dakota failed to do, which prompted the recall.

It can take eight years for an infected cow to begin showing symptoms of mad cow disease, but most cattle in the U.S. are killed by age 5, before many would be displaying symptoms. Only a very tiny fraction of the cows who are slaughtered are tested, which means that the only way to ensure that you’ll never get mad cow disease is to go vegan.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Strangely enough to date the USDA has detected only 3 cases of Mad Cow. Canada has uncovered 15 cases and in Japan where they test every single cow 34 cases have been discovered. Hmm… There is also evidence that increasing “Alzheimer’s” rates are not attributable to AD at all but rather slowincubating CJD. “In 1989 a Yale University team performed autopsies on the brains of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and found that 13 percent had CJD. A similar investigation found three of 12 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to actually have a TSE disease. A larger University of Pittsburg study “found a misdiagnosis rate of 5 percent and estimated there may be 200000 cases of CJD in the U.S. each year which are misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s.”

  • eslanda freeman says:

    Just go vegetarian and avoid all these problems. The way animals are horribly treated calls for a vegan diet. Only eat organic fruit vegetables and nuts!!! that’s all your body needs!! you’ll live to be over 100. Unless you need a corneal transplant and so on… in that case you are already doom.

  • Cindy Findlater says:

    Just to put this out there as it was said in the article that the only way to prevent mad cow is to go Vegan receiving corneal transplants having Neuro surgery and a genetic history of CJD are also risks of developing encephalitis in humans. Not just injesting beef. If the practice of feeding rendwered infected meat to vegetarian animals did not happen in the first place the topic of mad cow would never be known. Sorry for the bubble burst.

  • Caroline Kropka says:

    Who the hell eats heads anyway?

  • Aitor Bazo says:

    How disgusting. The people responsible the disease and the infected meat. In that order.