Michael Hansen’s outburst about mad cow disease isn’t his first attempt at deliberate scare-mongering (“Panic on beef feared,” Dec. 25).

In 1998, Hansen claimed that “thousands of (mad cow) cases a year” would soon develop among the American people. But all the best science, evidence and expert predictions indicate this point of view is needlessly alarmist. Hansen’s current rhetoric seems calculated to make us afraid of the U.S. beef supply.

His doom-and-gloom pronouncements are driven by his bias against traditional food-production methods. He sits on a national board of the misnamed Center for Food Safety, a group funded by organic-food companies that want to leverage mad-cow fears in order to steer Americans toward organic foods.

Fortunately, it’s a hollow scare tactic. Americans need to understand that his dire predictions are based on activist hype, not sound science.