As we explain in our book Mad Cow USA, billions of pounds of rendered by-product from slaughterhouse waste are fed to livestock each year in the US. This is the practice that spread 'mad cow disease' in British cattle, a disease that has now spread to humans and is killing a growing number each year. The US has its own versions of mad cow-type diseases including chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk.
Mad Cow Disease
Food industry front group Consumer Freedom, run by tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman, is doing its best to confuse the public and the press about chronic wasting disease (CWD), a mad cow-type disease spreading across North America. Berman's lobby group has been savaging us for writing our 1997 book Mad Cow USA and for continuing to investigate and comment on this issue.
"The Wisconsin Medical Society on Thursday warned hunters that no test can tell them whether the venison from their deer is safe to eat," reports Ron Seely. Nevertheless, state officials are urging hunters to go all-out in harvesting (and consuming) deer in the hope that a special hunt will kill enough to halt the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Like mad cow disease, CWD disease is a fatal brain illness caused by an infectious, malformed protein called a prion.
"We're watching the total failure of any adequate preventive policy at the state or federal level," PR Watch's John Stauber told Salon.com's Fran Smith. "Stauber believes the government's response to CWD is disturbingly similar to Britain's failure to take quick action to stem mad cow," Smith writes.
Wisconsin has a "deer management" problem. Chronic wasting disease, called CWD but dubbed mad deer disease, has been found in its wild herd of 1.6 million deer. Sales of hunting licenses, and thus state revenue from sales, are down 22% as the big fall hunt approaches. The state's hunting industry is suffering financially and running radio ads and posting billboards that ridicule hunter health concerns as "media hysteria." However, the World Health Organization says that no part of an infected deer should be eaten.
"After six years, escalating legal fees and a celebrated trial in the heart of Texas cattle country, a federal judge has dismissed a lingering lawsuit accusing Oprah Winfrey of maligning the beef industry," reports the Associated Press. After Winfrey did a show in April 1996 about mad cow disease, a group of Texas cattlemen sued her and vegetarian activist Howard Lyman under the state's "agricultural product disparagement" law.
An Associated Press story speculates today that Wisconsin hunters, having killed deer in the area of the state known to be infected with mad cow-like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), might have spread the disease around the state by taking carcasses back to their homes and dumping them in the environment. Yes, that is a possibility, but not the most obvious possibility. Feeding rendered byproducts is a much more obvious threat to spread CWD around the state, the nation and to other livestock.
The stunning outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Wisconsin's wild herd of one and a half million white tail deer is finally drawing some serious US media attention to mad cow-type risks in the US. A rural Wisconsinite, Jay Newman, was so upset by developments and the lack of information for average citizens that he launched a website that now provides the most timely information available. It's a great example of how an average concerned citizen can use the web to make a real media difference on a critical breaking issue.
The growing US epidemic of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the 'mad deer disease' that has begun a massive shooting of over 15,000 deer in Wisconsin to try to stop its spread, is finally drawing some excellent journalistic coverage to the threat of mad cow-type diseases in the US. Ever since Oprah Winfrey was sued for the "food disparagement" crime of examining US mad cow risks, the US media has been cowed into giving very little attention to this very serious disease issue.
As we explain in our book Mad Cow USA, on June 3, 1997, the Associated Press circulated an outrageously inaccurate story claiming falsely that the Food and Drug Administration had "banned the use of virtually all slaughtered-animal parts in US livestock feed." Well, it's deja vu all over again, as this false and misleading AP story was featured today, five years later, in an AP column titled 'Today in History.' In reality, the FDA regulations have allowed the continuing feeding of billions of pounds a year of slaught