Over an incident in a British area when everyone became sick. The government said that there was no connection exists between any human illness and mad cow disease, the incurable dementia that has killed 160,000 British cows since 1985. On March 20, however, a somber secretary Darrell faced the legislative body, and the nation, and proceeded to eat his every words. A government advisory committee, he explained, had concluded that mad cow disease was indeed the "most likely" cause of a recent outbreak in young British adults of a similar fatal disease.

The announcement was an embarrassing about-face for the government. It stunned and angered the British people, and sent shockwave's through Europe and around the world. Beef went untouched in supermarkets by alarmed shoppers, and the chairman of the government's advisory committee said that victims could number in the hundreds of thousands. Are they still crazy after all these years? An international news released in March, Earth save joined with the physicians committee for responsible medicine (PCRM) in Washington, DC to draw attention to mad cow disease.

The release also sought to counter the mistaken, albeit widely reported notion that beef can be safe if only we somehow purge the meat supply of contaminants and contagions, such as the infectious agent responsible for mad cow disease. Is it safe? The fact is, when cows are healthy, eating them isn't. According to numerous studies by noted researchers, too many people worldwide are already suffering and dying from deadly substances found in beef, as well as in poultry, pork, fish, and dairy products. These ingredients, including saturated fat and cholesterol, occur almost exclusively in foods of animal origin, and have been implicated time and again in the epidemic of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and obesity that plague Western nations. To stimulate discussion in the heart of America's cattle country on mad cow disease and meat consumption's human toll, Earth Save and PCRM attempted to place in the Des Moines [Iowa] register newspaper an ad discussing this situation.

The newspaper refused to print the $1,000 ad, however, deeming it unsuitable for their publication. Did the fact that the Register accepts great sums of advertising dollars each year from the meat industry influence the publisher's decision? Another mainstream newspaper was also having a beef with beef. "Meat-eaters" learned more in the past week than they ever wanted to know about the origins of a hamburger. The Wall Street Journal reported. "The British experience of mad cow disease-and its links to commercial livestock feed and human illness - forever dispelled the image of contented cows grazing on sweet grass and hay.

Modern agribusiness isn't like 'Green Acres'... Most Americans are unfamiliar with farm life and were shocked to find that modern agriculture had made cattle into carnivores. Fattened on meat and bone from sheep and cows". This was not what the beef industry wanted to hear. They pressed for another show, and one was hurriedly scheduled for the following week.

They show was decidedly one-sided. No one but the Cattlemen's Weber spoke during the segment devoted to beef safety. When pressed by Winfrey, Weber did finally acknowledge that feeding cows to cows is a routine practice in the US. He justified the practice by saying that it makes good scientific sense and is a wise use of "high-value nutrients" that would otherwise be "wasted". Weber offered that, in order to protect public safety, American feedlot operators and ranchers say they " ve voluntarily stopped feeding cows to cows.

But Weber gave no explanation why this important consumer safeguard was not implemented in 1989, as it was in England, and Oprah didn't ask. Still mad cow disease, and its jump from cattle to humans, mystifies scientists and inspires public fear. The illness was first identified in 1985 when the vet, puzzled by odd symptoms he had seen in cattle, consulted scientists at the central veterinary laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey. They found new evidence of a new illness resembling the sheep disease scrapie.

It was technically named Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) but it quickly acquired the mad cow tag- because of the way infected cattle behavior. A decade later in 1996 the British government conceded people were falling victim to a degenerative new brain disease linked to BSE. Despite previous denials that BSE could infect humans, ministers accepted vCJD was most likely caused by infected meat. Called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), it has now killed eighty people in Britain and infected at least five more, one of them in France. The devastating illness often starts with a bout of depression, progressively cripples the brain and always results in death. But many question still need answers - how did BSE develop in cattle, how did the disease cross species to infect humans as vCJD and what factors affect whether a human will contract the disease.

The World Health Organization says competing theories exist to explain how it develops. The most accepted explanation is that the disease is caused by prions - self-replicating proteins that contaminate neighboring protein cells. The WHO says human sufferers of the disease usually experience psychiatric symptoms early in the illness, which most commonly take the form of depression and anxiety or less often, a schizophrenia - like psychosis. Neurological problems like unsteadiness and involuntary movements usually follow and shortly before death, patients become completely immobile and mute. Despite disagreement on exactly how it forms, scientists agree that the most likely link to humans came through people eating beef contaminated with BSE. Experts believe BSE was created when cows were fed scrapie-infected feed manufactured from abattoir offcuts.

Cattle feed had been produced from animal remains since 1930, but in the 1970's and the 1980's changes occurred in the way it was made. Solvents thought to be a health risk to rendering workers were banned and lower temperatures were used in processing the feed. Experts now believe those new manufacturing techniques allowed a resilient strain of scrapie to enter the feed and for it re-emerge in a new form in cattle disease - BSE. Cattle carcasses infected with BSE were then used in manufactured feed, which recycled the disease and rapidly worsened the epidemic. As many as 500,000 contaminated beef carcasses are thought to have entered the human food chain. By the mid-1980's, large numbers of people in Britain were unwittingly eating beef burgers, cheap mince and pies infected with BSE.

In 1997 new animal studies suggested that vCJD could be transmitted through blood raising fears of a much wider problem. White blood cells, which form part of the immune system and are found in the lymph glands, were isolated as one of the high-risk tissues for BSE infection. As a result of this concern, the British government required the removal of white blood cells from donated blood. So does this disease still cause fear for most people? Well the truth is, we will never know until all the scientist finally pin point exactly what the cause and situation of the disease is. And if we can find a fast cur for the disease then less people will stop worrying about their meat.

But look on the bright side of it, at least the demand and popularity of chicken has gone up. You know what that means, that's right, now the government has more money so they can do more testing on mad cow disease. So with that in mind, I just want to say. If it can happen to cows then why not chicken, lets not think too far into this disease.