Florida’s Mad Cow Disease Threat Prompts ‘It’s Mad to Eat Meat’ Billboard

PETA Points to Risk of Developing Brain Disease and Urges Everyone to Go Vegan

For Immediate Release:
September 4, 2018

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Tallahassee, Fla. – In response to reports that a 6-year-old cow in Florida tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BCE)—commonly known as “mad cow disease”—PETA plans to place a billboard in Tallahassee that shows a “mad cow” next to the words “It’s Mad to Eat Meat. Mad Cow Disease Found in Florida. Go Vegan.”

PETA notes that most cows killed for food are slaughtered before the age of 2—long before they would become symptomatic for BCE. Humans who eat contaminated beef can develop prion disease, a degenerative brain disorder that can quickly disable or kill its victims. Of the roughly 34 million cows killed for food every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tests only 40,000 for BCE.

“Most cows are never tested and are killed long before they would exhibit symptoms, so there’s no way to know for sure how widespread this mad cow disease outbreak is,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s billboard warns that those still eating meat are placing themselves at risk of developing a grave degenerative brain disease.”

In addition to possible exposure to BCE, eating meat has been linked to an increased risk for suffering from cancer, E. coli infections, and heart disease, among other serious ailments. It also causes suffering on a massive scale: Cows killed for food are confined to cramped, filthy feedlots without protection from the elements or temperature extremes. At the slaughterhouse, workers shoot them in the head with a captive-bolt gun, hang them up by one leg, and cut their throats—often while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—offers a free vegan starter kit (available here) full of recipes, tips on dining out, and more. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind