Sick cows, and the eating thereof

Published January 1, 2011

imageIt’s old news that it’s a Bad Idea to eat meat that comes from cows with Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (i.e., Mad Cow Disease). The prions that cause it are unkillable, so no amount of cooking will make a difference, and you could end up with the incurable and 100% fatal Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.

But apparently there’s something else lurking in our cattle: Johne’s disease. It’s caused by the same bacteria that might cause Crohn’s Disease in humans.

Here’s what the Chronicle of Higher Education has to say:

Johne’s disease in livestock is very similar – and possibly even identical – to Crohn’s disease in people, which currently afflicts an estimated 500,000 sufferers in North America alone, causing severe ulcerations of the gastrointestinal tract, immense pain, and loss of appetite and weight, often requiring surgical removal of the damaged bowel.  And the big, dirty secret of today’s industrial dairy and meat producers is that animals suffering from flagrant Johne’s disease currently provide milk and meat directly to the American consumer.

In short, we eat lots of very, very sick cows, animals so ill that if you knew you were eating them, you wouldn’t.

Click here to read the whole piece, “The Most Important Disease You Probably Never Heard Of.”

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