John Stauber, the
Center for Media and Democracy
’s chief mad-cow scaremonger, is at it again. Speaking at a public meeting in rural Wisconsin, Stauber warned the assembled citizens that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a naturally-occuring illness among deer and elk, posed a serious threat to humans. “Can CWD spread from deer and elk to people?” he asked. “I think it already has.”

It’s cruel enough to tell hunters that “CWD can kill people,” and that continuing their family tradition amounted to “a crap shoot.” Stauber, though, is doing so with zero evidence to back up his claims.

In April, Nobel Prize winner Stanley Prusiner (who discovered the CWD-causing “prions” in the first place) released a study asserting that “those who eat the meat of deer infected with chronic wasting disease are in no danger.” And Reuters reported on Friday that an ongoing University of Wyoming study has found no evidence to suggest that CWD can cross the “species barrier” into beef cattle.

If chronic wasting disease is not found in cows, and poses no threat to people, then there’s no problem, right? Not quite. Dr. George Gray, director of the food safety and agriculture department at Harvard University, recently alerted Americans to the damage done by Stauber and his lot. The “media-fed frenzy of emotional public reaction” associated with mad-cow scares, notes Dr. Gray, “is potentially worse than the risk of the disease itself.”