If you’ve read our groundbreaking Mad Cow report, you know all about how anti-meat activists have circulated rumors of “mad deer disease” throughout the hunting community, in order to stir up fears of a potential U.S. mad cow epidemic. This baseless story is back again, courtesy of a February article in Field and Stream about an Oklahoma hunter who died last year from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This is the author’s second trek down the fallacious “mad deer” trail. Taking his cue from the Field and Stream article, outdoorsman and TV fishing-show host Babe Winkleman warns readers of the Memphis (TN) Commercial Appeal that the current whitetail population could spread “mad deer” disease to other wildlife, and eventually humans.
The confusion continues in the Bergen County (NJ) Sunday Record, which erroneously reported that “despite the controls, officials have found mad cow on U.S. soil.” This startling claim was based on a flawed understanding of scrapie, a disease that occurs naturally in sheep and has been documented for over 400 years. Scrapie is certainly not the same as mad cow disease, which has not been found in North America.