Mad Cows And Dementia

My mother was recently visiting with a friend. They got around to talking about their kids and she mentioned that Jane and I have been vegan for awhile, and that we’ve been blogging about our vegan experiences. My mom, who is not vegan by the way (hi mom!), explained veganism to her friend and discussed the cruelty perpetrated on the animals we, as a society, eat. (Go mom!) My mom expressed that it made her sad, to which her friend replied, “I don’t care, I like meat.” Wow. I know others have talked about experiencing this, but so far, the worst I’ve heard is, “I don’t want to know, I still want to eat meat….”

If the environmental reasons aren’t enough, here’s a little something I’ve been reading about which should get those people who like meat to reconsider, at least the beef eaters.

I’ve been reading Thanking the Monkey and on page 192 Karen Dawn writes

How rampant is mad cow disease? We don’t know. A study at Yale found that of forty-six patients clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, six were proven to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) at autopsy. (Ms. Dawn cites Guy McKahann et al., Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 1989 – pages 100-109.) Other studies have shown that mad cow prions can cause a disease with a molecular signature indistinguishable from sporadic CJD. Therefore there is no way to determine if the many deaths from CJD misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s are actually linked to mad cow disease. (Ms. Dawn cites Michael Greger, MD, “Could Mad Cow Disease Already Be Kliling Thousands of Americans Every Year?”, January 7, 2004.) So we cannot know how widespread mad cow disease is in the United States, or whether humans are infected. It seems that the government is in no rush to help us find out.

Yikes! Then there’s always this blurb from the National Institutes of Health page on CJD.

The appearance of the new variant of CJD (nv-CJD or v-CJD) in several younger than average people in Great Britain and France has led to concern that BSE may be transmitted to humans through consumption of contaminated beef. Although laboratory tests have shown a strong similarity between the prions causing BSE and v-CJD, there is no direct proof to support this theory.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NIH)

The more I read, the happier I am that I’m vegan.

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