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August 27th, 2004, 05:25 AM #1
I don't know if any of you are familar with the beef situation but two years ago one cow tested postive to mad cow disease. As a result the USA closed its borders to Canadian beef. This has all but destroyed the cattle industry here in western Canada.As a result many farmers and ranchers here are facing financial disaster.
The sad thing is that all our packing houses here are owned by American companies. They are buying beef at reduced prices here and sending the finished products down to the US. Are they passing these low prices down to you the consumer? No. They are using this to gouge the American consumer. Please sign the petition and help open the border. The result will be that the prices will drop in your super market.
August 28th, 2004, 11:47 PM #2
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
- Texas, USA
Two years seems long enough to find a herd of "mad cows".
Time to reopen the border.
I signed the petition and made sure they knew I'm from Texas.
Good luck, Canadian Cowboys!!
August 29th, 2004, 05:50 AM #3
Mad Cow Disease (aka BSE or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is a hugely misunderstood disease. It's a brain disease that primarily spreads by animals being forced to eat the premains of other animals - in many places it is a common practice to render down dead animal carcasses as cattle food. BSE possibly jumped species from sheep (where the disease is known as Scrapie) when they started to be fed to cows.
Britain's BSE "epidemic" (actually only ever a maximum of 0.3% of the cow population) in the 80s and 90s was directly as a result of truly bad farming techniques. Cows do not eat other cows or sheep as a rule, but in an attempt to cut costs farmers did just that.
However, despite a significant quantity of BSE-infected material in the food chain during the late 80s, the knock on effect has been limited. In humans the disease manifests itself as vCJD (variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease) (sometimes called nvCJD - the "n" is for "new"). Despite potentially millions of people being exposed to the infection agent, only 142 people have died in the UK. It is, however, a horrible way to to die and the incubation period could be decades.
The infection machanism of Scrapie/BSE/vCJD are unusual in that it isn't spread by a virus or bacteria, but by a "prion" which is a type of rogue protein. A prion spreads because it converts other proteins into itself (recent research shows that some yeasts use prions to grow).
The problem with prions is that nobody really understands all the possible infection vectors, however it takes some effort to spread BSE through a cow population.
But here's the catch - the BSE prions have only ever been found in brain tissue and the spinal cord. So a combination of proper animal management (to stop the disease spreading amongst cows) and removing possibly infectious tissue from the food chain would limit the risk to about zero. These things aren't hard to do.
However, it's important to keep BSE strictly under control. Although it has been basically elimiated in the UK, the problem now is that there are people suffering from vCJD who might pass it on to others. Purely as a precaution (and with no actual proven evidence to support it) the UK goverment now imports all human blood plasma products from the US and has banned blood donation from people who have had transfusions since 1980. It's quite likely that thousands of people will die as a result of BSE/vCJD. But really this is beacause in the early stages of the disease, we didn't know what it was and didn't take much of an effort to stop it. But as it turns out, basic sensible precautions are extremely effective.
Consider it Britain's gift to the world. Personally I blame Maggie Thatcher.
August 29th, 2004, 07:34 AM #4
Thanks for the explanation Dynamoo. Very informative. Thanks to you Radarcat for signing especially from Texas.Texas is also big on cattle ranching.
August 29th, 2004, 07:40 AM #5
I'll eat Canadian beef, as long as it doesn't play hockey.
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