Filed Under: Mad Cow Disease

Anti-meat activists renew ‘mad cow’ alarms

Ralph Nader’s “Public Citizen” has teamed up with a whistleblower organization called the Government Accountability Project, and both groups are spreading new fears about mad cow disease. Although there has been absolutely no sign of the disease in North America, these nannies are still questioning the sincerity of the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to test domestic cattle. Referring to the activists’ report, issued yesterday, one USDA spokesman said: “I think what I can see of it lacks true scientific analysis.”
This latest assault on reason may be a pre-emptive strike, since it comes just weeks before George Gray (of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis) is expected to release a report identifying the minimal level of risk associated with mad cow disease in the United States. The new Reader’s Digest (August 2001) features a tag-team interview with Gray and Consumers Union’s Michael Hansen. Predictably, Hansen tried to inject as much fear as possible into the discussion, making wild claims about mad-cow-like illnesses “in the elk and deer population.” In conjunction with the article, Reader’s Digest is sponsoring an informal poll to gauge American’s feelings about mad cow disease. One nanny group is already e-mailing its network of activists with a recommendation to “vote early and vote often.”

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