The second case of Mad Cow disease in the US was confirmed last week.
What's interesting is that the USDA covered up this last case for seven months. It seems that the original test on the cow that died had mixed results (one positive and one negative) and that conclusive re-testing didn't take place until just a few weeks ago. Seven months is a long time in my opinion and an indicator that the inspection system isn't working.
Could it be pressure from outside sources to make sure beef exports continue and previous bans due to the first Mad Cow confirmation from countries like Japan and Taiwan were reversed?
Would it surprise you to know that currently the US only tests 1 in 90 cows? Back in 2003 it was 1 in 1,700. Japan tests every cow, European countries test 1 in 4.
I predict this is just the tip of the iceberg. With the manner in which meat is processed in the US, there is little chance of getting clean, disease-free, healthy (as nature intended it to be) meat on regular basis - in my opinion.
For example, did you know that the leftover pieces of a slaughtered cow is ground up and fed back to other cows? Well, it was the case until 1997 when they banned this practice. But they still feed cow remains to chickens and pigs. Dead chicken scraps are fed to cows, dead cow scraps are fed to chickens, dead pig scraps are fed to cows. And all the bacteria, disease, manure that's around gets ground up and fed back into feed as well. This just circulates germs, bacteria and disease. It also makes the strains of viruses more resistant to antibiotics. It's crazy! (but efficient) What happened to letting cows feed on grass?
Now let's take hamburgers for example. Did you know that one hamburger can contain hundreds or even thousands of animals? Dr. Robert Tauxe, Chief of food-borne and diarrheal diseases branch of the CDC in a PBS Frontline interview in 2002 disclosed this strange fact. Years ago, when you got a pound of ground beef, it was usually from one or two cows. Not anymore thanks to efficiency in the meat industry.
And if that isn't interesting enough, it's been estimated that as much as 78% of ground beef contains bacteria spread by fecal matter. This is from a study by the USDA and quoted in many books and articles on the subject.
Cows stand around in manure every day. Have you ever visited a dairy or meat processing plant? In my area of the world outside of Phoenix, Arizona there are dozens of dairies. I drive by them almost daily and live within 5-10 minutes of many. One thing you'll notice (or can't miss) when you drive by is the incredible stench (my daughter usually plugs her nose and points it out - if I hadn't noticed!). The cows are all crowded together, covered in mud and manure eating hay and feed. They don't move around much and never see grass. Next door a farm is being sprayed with pestisides and heavy, diesel trucks are moving dirt as a highway is being built around the corner. Am I getting an appetite for a burger and glass of milk after seeing this?
Some of the material above was inspired by Morgan Spurlock's new book "Don't Eat This Book". Haven't finished it yet, but half-way through, I highly recommend it.
I'm glad I'm a vegan