Skip to Main Content

Mad Cow Disease: We’re Not out of the Woods

Written by PETA | November 11, 2011

Alarming new findings from Britain’s Health Protection Agency reveal that many people could still be infected with, and eventually die from, mad cow disease. In humans, it is referred to as “new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,” or vCJD. As leading vCJD expert Professor John Collinge notes, “The incubation period, where there are no symptoms, can last for decades.”


But that’s Great Britain, not the U.S., right? Well, we’re potentially at an even higher risk because while Europe banned the macabre farming practice that is believed to have caused mad cow disease—feeding ground-up farmed animals to other farmed animals—it is still legal in the United States. And while England tests every cow slaughtered for the presence of the disease, the U.S. tests only a small percentage

The symptoms of vCJD are so similar to those of dementia or Alzheimer’s that there is some indication that a large number of Americans may have been misdiagnosed.

Obviously we can’t un-eat meat we ate in the past that may have contained the indestructible prions that cause mad cow disease, although British scientists are working on a blood test that can check for the disease. But what we can do is reduce our risk of future infection by quitting hamburgers and steaks, ahem, cold turkey.

But if you’re thinking that eating cold turkey or another meat would be better, don’t be fooled—you still run the risk of all those other diseases that any kind of meat consumption contributes to, including heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer

Continuing to eat meat despite the mounting evidence that it will hurt us in one way or another seems pretty mad, right?


Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • jwashburn says:

    Does anyone know if it is just the meat, or can you get mad cow from dairy too? In my microbiology I asked my professor when we went over mad cow disease, and she thought that was an interesting ? but didn’t know. I did read that this disease is most common in dairy cows. I know it is in their central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) and that is why it is most common in hamburger and other ground up meats…