There is a growing amount of evidence available to suggest that mad cow disease could, within a few years, be a major killer of human beings. Although the problem first developed in Britain. It could be a major threat to anyone—anywhere in the world— who eats any meat or meat product taken from a cow.
The first human cases of mad cow disease could develop soon. The symptoms are likely to be a loss of muscular coordination, followed by failing intellect and changes in the personality. Blindness and a loss of speech will probably follow and victims will probably die within a few months though some may survive in great distress for a year.
Anyone still eating beef or hamburgers is gambling with their health.
Although mad cow disease has been repeatedly dismissed as a minor problem by politicians and spokesmen for the meat industry there are many reasons why you should be worried— unless you believe that the politicians always tell the truth.
First, although there has been relatively little written or spoken about mad cow disease recently it has not gone away. There have been 50,000 confirmed cases since 1986 in the UK and in 1993 new cases of mad cow disease were occurring at the rate of between 500 and 850 a week. Compare that to the Government’s forecast—published three years ago—of between 350 and 400 cases a month and of a predicted total of no more than 20,000 cases of mad cow disease in cattle.
The British Government predicted that the incidence of mad cow disease would fall in 1992.
But the fall hasn’t happened. ‘We just have to sit and wait, and hope that everything will turn out all right,’ a Government spokesman is reported to have said recently.
The experts who want us to carry on eating beef—and who insist that there are no risks of human beings developing mad cow disease—claim that the disease cannot jump from cows to human beings.
But how do they know that?
After all, we know for certain that the disease can jump from one species to another. It started off in sheep as a disease called scrapie and it is believed to have affected cattle after infected sheep carcases were used in cattle feed. Many other animals have already been infected by the mad cow disease virus. So far the list includes: monkeys, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, elk, deer, mules and mink.
Some experts claim that a disorder very similar to mad cow disease already affects human beings. The rare disorder Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease is believed to be closely related to mad cow disease. And it seems that this disease can be transmitted by eating infected material. A tribe of cannibals in Papua, New Guinea is believed to have caught the disease by eating a missionary who was dying from it. In the end 3,700 villagers died of the disease—more than 1 in 10 of the whole population. Members of the tribe only stopped dying of the disease when they stopped eating infected human beings.
There are even experts who argue that human beings have already caught mad cow disease.
Some experts believe that people who are most at risk are those who ate meat from cows in the late 1980s. But other experts suspect that people who eat beef today are still at risk. They argue that because the incubation period of mad cow disease is long, healthy animals being killed today may still have the disease and may still be infectious. Cows which seem healthy when taken to the slaughterhouse may carry the virus.
The British Government has banned the use of cattle brain,
Spleen and other offal in human food—since these are the parts of the cow which are believed to be most likely to carry the infection. But no one can guarantee that other parts of the cow will not be contaminated. And the virus—which is resistant to heat, irradiation and powerful chemicals, which cannot be killed by boiling and which can survive for years in a powerful disinfectant—is unlikely to be killed by cooking.
If mad cow disease is spreading to human beings it will be too late to do anything about it by the time we know all the facts. Mad cow disease is a far greater threat to ordinary Britons than Aids ever was. In just five years time it could prove to be one of the biggest killers of the century. But nothing is being done about it because the people who make money out of selling you beef don’t want to frighten you. And the politicians are too scared of the truth to share it with you.
You must make up your own mind. But my advice is simple: if you want to make sure that you don’t get mad cow disease don’t eat anything made out of dead cows.
Modern regulations allow farmers, meat processors, packers and food companies selling meat to mislead their consumers in a ‘ way that would startle people in other industries.
The word ‘meat’ can include the head, feet, rectum (full or empty), spinal cord and tail of an animal. The term ‘meat product’ can include the eyeballs and the nose. A package which is labelled as containing pure beef may include fat, rind, grisde and skin. It is commonplace for sausages to include ground up tonsils, fat, bone, cartilage and intestines (with or without the contents). The people selling meat and meat products use flavourings and colourings to disguise what they are selling. Faecal matter is an advantage—it adds extra weight. Water and polyphosphates are injected into the animal’s dead body at high pressure in order to increase the weight of the animal (and the profit to the farmer).
More meat worries
The enormous demand for meat these days means that every day huge numbers of animals are killed and ‘processed’. In theory the killing should be clean, fast, painless and hygienic. It is none of those things. The killing invariably goes on in huge sheds where cross infection is commonplace and where there is little or no time to clear away blood or faecal matter. Chickens are routinely killed in batches of thousands at a time. Inevitably carcases become infected. Cross infection in slaughterhouses is common. Contamination with faecal matter is commonplace and animals which are ill, infected or cancerous are killed and ‘processed’ into the food chain for humans. People who eat meat could easily end up eating a lump of cancer.
Before animals are killed they are usually made unconscious. This is done either with a special type of pistol which fires a captive steel bolt or by passing an electric current through the animal’s brain.
Then, when they are supposedly unconscious, the animals are killed by having their throats slit. (The men who work in the slaughterhouses call this ‘sticking’, ‘bleeding out’, or—if they are feeling unusually literate—’exsanguination’).
However, the animals aren’t always unconscious when their throats are cut. Approximately 6% of cattle are not properly stunned before their throats are cut. And many animals wake up in time to see what is happening to them. Worst of all, however, are the practices in slaughterhouses which cater to Jews and Muslims. Here, for some to me quite incomprehensible reason, animals are fully conscious when their throats are cut. In Britain alone approximately 50,000 to 60,000 cattle and calves, 25,000 to 30,000 sheep and lambs and millions of chickens, turkey and hens are alive when their throats are cut so that Jews can eat kosher meat. Cattle can take up to six minutes to die this way.
Approximately 4,000 animals die every minute of every working day in slaughterhouses in the United Kingdom.