Seriously. There’s a trade war in which Canada is as guilty as the US of
reacting like a bunch of crazed nitwits. Statistically, we should have put
trade embargoes on cars, electrical applicances and probably shoelaces.
All of these things have likely directly caused more deaths directly than
CJD in bovines has caused casually via vCJD.
We’re talking 100 people worldwide have contracted it (according to
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
http://w3.aces.uiuc.edu/AnSci/BSE/Index.htm Tripping down the stairs on
untied shoes probably has KILLED more people than that. I’m not
trivializing the effects of this disease. It is an extremely
debilitating, fatal neurological disorder that takes a terrible toll on
the people it does affect. The level at which it is being used in
political rhetoric for everything from the protectionist ban on cattle
imports by the US vs. Canada, Canada vs. Japan, etc., is completely out
of proportion to the direct effects. Organic food groups are up in arms
over the steroid growth hormones, and are weilding CJD as the phone book
to beat us about the head.
The hormones don’t cause, transmit or affect CJD in cows. The most
provable source is the consumption of spinal and brain tissue of
infected cows as feed. This is a cost-saving measure used in the past
and now banned in most countries. I’m no medical expert, but sporadic
CJD in humans accounts for 85% of the cases. From what I’ve read, vCJD
(as opposed to sCJD) is the primary BSE bovine vector into humans.
Most of the research I did was via UIUC, as well as a bit more browsing,
newscasts and paper bits. It’s not in depth, but for my satisfaction,
the risk of this disease is EXTREMELY low. It’s not impossible. But if
you regularly follow the herd across the street without looking at the
traffic yourself, your risk of leaving this worldly realm early is a lot
higher than leaving it via BSE.
All I really want to point out is that people should look into the facts
on this issue. Don’t listen to the rhetoric from either the pro-beef or
anti-beef industry, or any other special interest group. There are many
responsible scientists trying to solve this problem, with significant
research in place already. Then you can decide whether you will keep
eating beef as I have, trusting that the odds are with me, and not
wanting to live in a bubble the rest of my life. The risk is low.
This is one chance I will take based on the facts as I understand them.