Mad cow disease kills many and is spreading rapidly throughout Britain and is slowly affecting the United States. Mad cow disease is a serious disease that affects many different species. There are different forms of the disease. This disease has occurred in Britain and can occur in the United States as well. Mad cow disease can be prevented. Mad cow disease has several different names.

It is called Bovine Spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. Other names are New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or vCJD (Morris). Transmittable Spongiform encephalopathy or TSE is another name. Spongiform encephalopathies are nervous system disorders which nerve cells of the brain die, causing the brain to assume a sponge-like appearance (Montague, Part 1). In 1985 a veterinarian found odd symptoms in a cattle (Morris). Cows in Britain began to die of mysterious ailments (Montague, Part 1).

German physicians Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt and Al fons Jakob first discovered vCJD in its natural form in the 1920's (Shell, Part 2). In 1996 British government conceded that people were falling victim to a degenerate new brain disease linked to BSE (Morris). Some cows in the United States may already have mad cow disease. It is also very possible that people in the United States may have the human form of the disease. Cows are vegetarians by nature. They can be infected when they are forced to eat parts of other infected animals.

When animals are slaughtered for human food at least half of the carcass-hide, hooves, entrails, etc can not be sold for human consumption. It's then sent to a "rendering" plant where it's ground up, boiled down and driven into the consistency of brown sugar. Now, it's sold for feed for cows, pigs, chickens and pets. Eating infected animals transmits mad cow disease or eating animal parts especially brains and spinal cords (Montague, Part 3). Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry that are exposed to BSE via animal food can secretly harbour the disease (Morris). Scrapie is a disease that has affected sheep for at least 200 years.

Sheep infected with Scrapie rub up against fences or barns until they scrape away their wool, leaving raw wounds, then they die. Scrapie infected sheep are sometimes fed to cows (Montague). Humans can get the human form of mad cow disease by eating infected meat. Mad cow disease has a severe effect on animals.

The infamous disease has increased 23 percent a year in Britain since 1994 (ABC News). As of June 30 th 2000, 75 cases have been confirmed or suspected of having the disease. Of those 75 cases, 64 people have died (CNN News). Symptoms of the disease can vary. Loss or coordination, personality changes, mania and dementia are most common (Shell, Part 2). Symptoms may not even be seen.

Many cows can be carrying the infection silently (Montague, Part 1). The disease can be unnoticed for thirty to forty years (Morris). It will eventually kill. Infected cows will stagger, drool, and show signs of fear, grind their teeth, exhibit aggressiveness toward other animals and their ears twitch (Montague, Part 1). A protein called Prion causes TSE. Prion is normal proteins, present in all mammals and some non-mammalian species.

All TSE diseases have similar characteristics. They attack the central nervous systems, causing disintegration of the brain (Montague, Part 3). Mad cow disease has led to the slaughtering of 3. 7 million cattle. It is leading to the near destruction of Great Britain's cattle industry. A similar epidemic in the United States would be even more of catastrophic than Britain's outbreak (Shell).

Preventing mad cow disease is half of the battle. The European union has banned the British beef exports (Morris). In 1997 the Federal Drug Administration prohibited the feeding of ruminants and mink to ruminants. Ruminants are animals that chew their cuds.

Minks are included in the ban because they can get a TSE similar to mad cow disease. The United States hasn't banned feeding animals to other animals, like Britain did in 1988. Since the United States won't prevent feeding animals to other animals we are limited to what we can do to prevent getting infected. For now all we can do is cook all meat carefully.

Even cooking infected meat or rendering it at high temperatures doesn't completely eliminate infectivity (Montague, Part 1). Britain has been burning infected and potentially infected cattle so the disease won't spread. In the United States we need to make restrictions on what animals eat. Mad cow disease kills many and is spreading rapidly throughout Britain and is slowly affecting the United States. Mad cow disease is affecting many animals and people.

It is spread throughout Britain and can be in the United States as we speak. I don't think mad cow disease is taken as serious as it should be. Many people in the United States don't think it could happen here and that's not realistic. The truth is mad cow disease is spreading rapidly and is very realistic.

People say the answer to this disease is to not feed animals to other animals and to cook our meat thoroughly. Cooking meat thoroughly is not always effective. The world needs to eat less meat products. The United States especially needs to put a ban on feeding animal parts to animals and restrict how meat is served. I think mad cow disease is a serious issue and more people should do the same. We need to be more cautious of what we put into our bodies or our dead bodies might be food for others..