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					Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy:
        “Mad Cow Disease”

                                        Melody O‟Donnell
                    URBS 515 Race Poverty and the Environment
                           Professor Raquel Pinderhughes
                   Urban Studies & Environmental Studies Programs
                            San Francisco State University
                                    Spring 2004
 Public has permission to use the Material herein, but only if author(s), course, university and professor are
                                                  credited.




                                                                                                                 1
             This presentation focuses on the history and impacts of
                      Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).

•   It is designed to inform the public about the
    danger of this disregarded disease in the United
    States.
•   It analyzes and describes the origins and
    transmission of this disease, paying particular
    attention to the social, environmental and public
    health impacts associated with BSE.
•   We start by analyzing the rendering process that
    is thought to be a major factor in transmission of
    this disease. We then look at a brief history of it‟s
    effect on humans and other animals. This is
    followed by a comparison of the safeguards
    taken by the U.S. compared to other countries.
•   We conclude with proposals to protect those who
    consume beef products from the United States.



                                                                       2
                    Introduction
Why is it important for us as Americans to know about a disease
    that is thought to be a problem only in Europe, and more
                         recently, in Canada?
       Almost 77 million Americans eat beef every day. 1
If the research is true that humans are susceptible to the human
    form of Spongiform Encephalopathy, and this disease is in fact
   transmissible from consuming infected beef products, why isn‟t
           more being done to protect the American public?




                                                                     3
                        Transmission
• BSE can be transmitted from mother to fetus, as well as from bull
  sperm to the female.
• Also contracted when infectious agent (prion) is ingested in food.
       Adult cows are fed rendered animal protein to aid in
                            “bulking up”.
• Calves are fed a “baby formula” made from bovine blood because it it
  much less expensive than milk, not to mention the comparative resale
  values of the two liquids.



                                                                       4
“Protein Concentrates”: rendered
       animal protein feed
        • This inexpensive, high protein food is sold as
          granules or dry food pellets to animal farmers for
          vigorous animal growth.
        • It is sold in greatest quantities to cattle farmers
          because administration of hormones such as
          RGBH to their cows for increased milk production
          requires them to increase the cow‟s protein
          consumption.
        • This feed is also given to:
            – Pigs
            – Turkeys, chicken and ducks
            – Horses
            – Catfish, salmon and shrimp
            – Domestic animals (cats and dogs)
            – Zoo animals
                                                        5
    Rendered Protein Ingredients:
  Animals unfit for human
   consumption such as:

– Sick cows
– Sick pigs
– Sick turkeys, chicken and
  ducks
– Horses
– Sick catfish, salmon and
  shrimp
– Cats and dogs
– Zoo animals
– Road kill

                                    6
                  More ingredients:

– Frying oil from restaurants
– Brains, spinal cords, feathers,
  hooves, skins, hair, fur,
  whiskers, bones, teeth, etc.
  remaining from
  slaughterhouses
– Sewage sludge
– Manure
– Sawdust/wood scraps
– Newspaper
– Cement dust
– Maggot infested grains
                                      7
Rendering Process: Health and
   Environmental Effects
                The animals and other
                ingredients are processed into
                smaller pieces in a “Double
                Screw Press” (top left) and then
                boiled down in huge vats (bottom
                left) at extremely high
                temperatures with dangerous
                chemicals. “Infected tissue from a
                single animal has the potential to
                mingle with tissues from
                thousands of others, and then be
                distributed widely in feed.”1




                                              8
          Worker Hazardous Exposures
• Dangerous chemicals such as hydrogen sulfate, potassium permanganate,
   chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, lime, formaldehyde, lye, acetic acid and
   phosphoric acid.
• Extreme Heat
    – When heat of process was lowered in response to worker safety issues,
      process does not sufficiently remove contaminants: Salmonella, E. coli,
      infectious prions pesticides, pharmaceuticals and hormones. These
      contaminants not only pose a problem for the animals ingesting the food
      but also for the workers handling the product.
• Aerosolized fat mist that sprays out of the vats coats the walls and floor of
   the plant, making all surrounding surfaces very slippery and creating an
   extreme fire danger.

                                                                           9
                  Recycling?
The rendering industry defends their work as a form of
                      “recycling”-


• 1.3 million tons in the U.K. in 19881
• 15 million tons in the U.S. in 19922

  This is waste that would have otherwise gone into
      landfill. But is the risk belong taken worth the
                           tradeoff?

                  1. (Rhodes, 176) 2. (Rampton, 63)      10
 Not only is this rendered
 protein used in the food
we feed our pets and food
     animals, it is in the
      products we use
    everyday. The fat is
skimmed off of the top of
     the vat during the
  rendering process and
       used to make
    “marshmallows and
  cereal bars, … lipstick
   and hand lotion and
  garden fertilizers, tires
  and yogurt and breath
          mints.”
                              11
   Therefore, not only have we turned herbivore cows into not just carnivores but
 cannibals, we have put ourselves and other animals at risk . The old adage “you are
what you eat” has never been more true-not only are we the food that we eat, we are
    also what our food consumes. Humans, being at the top of the food chain, are
consuming all of the toxins, chemicals, hormones and diseases that affected our food
                              before we consumed them.




                                                                              12
Symptoms of Bovine Spongiform
      Encephalopathy
             restlessness
           aggressiveness
        loss of motor function
           loss of appetite
              convulsions
               blindness
            self mutilation



                                 13
               the initial discoveries of BSE…
•   In April of 1985, the first identified case of BSE was initially believed to be “grass
    staggers,” a common illness caused by Magnesium deficiency. The cow was
    observed as seeming to hallucinate.1 Given an “Unknown” diagnosis, as a possible
    brain tumor or lead poisoning. The brain autopsy revealed spongiform patterns.
•   On March 20, 1996 the UK Department of Health announced that BSE was in fact
    transmissible to humans.
•   The announcement was so devastating to the UK cattle economy that many
    ranchers were forced into bankruptcy beacuse of the immediate loss of entire herds
    of potentially contaminated cattle, as well as the immediate consumer boycott of beef
    and beef products. This downturn was so terrible in fact that there was an epidemic
    of suicides within the ranching community.2
•   School districts began banning beef in school lunches and vegetarianism rose in
    popularity for the general public in the UK.
•   In June, 1987 John Wilesmith, a veterinarian epidemiologist for the Ministry of
    Agriculture, Fishers and Food (MAFF) made the link between BSE and cattle feed
    made from scrapie infected sheep.3
                                                                                   14
• On July 7, 1988, a settlement was
  offered by British Agriculture of
  payment for 50% of the worth of the
  cow if reported to the government.
• This in fact gave the ranchers an
  incentive not to report suspicious
  cases, as they would make the full
  profit from sneaking past inspection
  and selling the meat into the market
  versus reporting the problem and
  only receiving 50% compensation.
• Not only did ranches lose money
  from BSE reports, they lost
  credibility as well as their customer
  base, and in effect became
  “blacklisted.”


                                  15
      The effect of BSE in the E.U.

Millions of suspect
animals in the UK and
across Europe have been
destroyed since 1986, but
the disease is still very
much present.




                                      16
Causative agent of BSE: What is
           a Prion?




                              17
                     prions
• Identified by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who in 1997 won
  the Nobel Prize for his research on prions.
• Does not contain RNA or DNA (therefore not
  technically alive like other infectious agents like
  viruses or bacteria)
• Does not evoke any detectable immune response or
  inflammatory reaction in host animals.
• In most animals, 3-7 years dormant incubation where
  the animal is asymptomatic.
• Average age of cows in the U.S. is 4 years old,
  meaning that the animal may be infected but still
  asymptomatic at time of slaughter.


                                                    18
                          Prions in the body
       Found in mainly in the brain, spinal cord and nervous tissue, with
      increasing research discovering prions in glands and blood as well.


Physical Attributes of the affected brain:


    – Enlarged astrocytes- Star shaped cells
      attached to blood vessels in brain.
                                                           BSE Brain


    – Holes where neurons used to be.


    – Amyloid Plaques-flower shaped protein
      waxy buildup.
                                                          Scrapie Brain     19
         Prion protein is indestructible
           by heat up to 1000° F (350° C)
              Hot enough to melt lead.
In 1986, 4.5 million cows were incinerated in the U.K. after the
  discovery of BSE. The ashes, stored in underground concrete
   containers, were retested again in 1998 and found to still be
                    infected with active prions.




                                                           20
     So how do these prions affect
              humans?
                   Kuru

      Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)



                                        21
                                          Kuru
•   Cannibal culture of Papua New Guinea.
•   Affected mostly women and children, with
    a small amount of men. anywhere from 5
    to 10 percent of the population died each
    year from kuru.1
•   When loved one died, men ate muscle
    portions and women and children were left
    with the lesser organs and brain, where
    we now know prions tend to cluster.
•   The rare male cases occurred because of
    the possible 20 to 30 year dormancy
    period of prions where the infectious
    agents were ingested as children.


                                                 22
Kuru   (continued)

   •   Analyzed by New Yorker Carleton
       Gajdusek and Lithuanian Dr. Vincent
       Zigas (both in photo) in 1957.
   •   Initially believed to be a virus causing
       encephalitis (swelling of the brain), with
       the same symptoms as Parkinson's,
       Alzheimer's, and MS. However these
       were degenerative, not infectious
       diseases, and not epidemic as kuru was.
   •   After autopsy, Gajdusek made the
       connection of brain damage to recently
       discovered CJD.
   •   No treatment was ever found, and when
       cannibalism was eventually phased out
       of the culture, so too came the
       disappearance of kuru.

                                          23
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
                             •   Discovered in 1921by Dr. Hans Gerhard
                                 Creutzfeldt and Dr. Alfons Jakob,
                                 colleagues at the University of Hamburg
                                 Germany.
                             •    Now more common that rabies.

                             •   Physical attributes of the affected brain:
                                  – Enlarged astrocytes- Star shaped cells
                                    attached to blood vessels in brain.
                                  – Holes where neurons used to be.
                                  – Amyloid Plaques-flower shaped protein
                                    waxy buildup.


 Microscope slide of brain
                                                                   24
     affected by CJD
                  CJD Symptoms:
                          (first 7 same as BSE)
• restlessness.
• aggressiveness (biting and hitting).
• loss of motor function.
• loss of appetite.
• convulsions.
• blindness.
• self mutilation.
• inability to swallow.


90% of deaths usually occur within one year of
  diagnosis, difficult to confirm diagnosis until
                   post mortem.
                                                  25
                    CJD Transmission:
                                        • Humans can acquire the prion
                                          by exposure to meat that has
                                          come in contact with the brain
                                          or spinal column of the
                                          animal.
                                        • Surgical equipment can be
                                          unknowingly infected by use
                                          on a patient with CJD, and
 In common slaughtering practices,        because sterilization
  the animal is often sliced at least     techniques do not kill the
once through the torso, severing the
 spinal column and exposing all the       prion, the are transmitted to
     the surrounding flesh to the         the other patients in
          infectious agent.               subsequent procedures.
                                                                   26
                                     CJD
                    Similarity to Alzheimer‟s disease

•   very similar patterns of dementia.
•   because of late onset of CJD, both usually occur later in life.
•    CJD often misdiagnosed as the more common Alzheimer‟s, as only way to
    differentiate is post mortem brain autopsy (which most families do not agree
    to.)
•   However, a 1989 article in the journal Neurology explains that autopsies of 54
    dementia patients at the Veterans Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA revealed
    that 3 of the had actually died of CJD. Given this figure we can infer than as
    many as 5% of Alzheimer‟s patients are actually suffering from CJD.
•   In Georgia, according to state law, autopsies cannot be performed on
    suspected CJD cases because the equipment cannot be sterilized.


         As with all TSE’s there is no cure or proven treatment.

                                                                             27
                New Variant CJD (vCJD)
• Much earlier onset but same
  symptoms as classic CJD, often
  with prolonged life expectancy.
•    A recent test on surgical
    equipment used for tonsillectomies
    in the U.K. revealed that 50% of
    tools were infected with vCJD,
    even after sterilization and
                                           Jonathan was diagnosed with vCJD
    autoclaving. (The tonsils are one of   at 17 and treated with the drug
                                           Pentosan polysulphate (PPS) ,
    the major glands where the body        commonly used as an arthritis
    stores prions.)                        treatment for dogs. This extended
                                           his life by several years, but did not
                                           cure him.
                                                                                    28
Other Forms of Transmissible
Spongiform Encephalopathies




                               29
                              Scrapie
•   Known to have existed for at
    least 200 years without being
    transmitted to humans, while
    being endemic in sheep
    populations all over the world.
•   There are 23 variations of prion
    mutation possible, each with a
    different incubation period as
    well as patterns of amyloid
    plaque in the brain.
•   Each variation is known by a
    unique symptom, such as
    “drowsy”, “hyper”, or “fat
    building”.



                                        30
       Domestic and Exotic Felines
                     •   The first case of domestic Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy
                         was discovered in the U.K. in May of 1990. Max was a 5 year
                         old Siamese cat. The FSE was discovered in a rare autopsy
                         (which are thought to be too costly and unnecessary by most
                         pet guardians).
                     •   Lab tested cats are not susceptible to scrapie but extremely
                         susceptible to BSE. These results reinforced the findings that it
                         was possible for a species (such as humans) to be susceptible
                         to BSE without being susceptible to scrapie, despite their
                         overwhelming similarities.


  A Puma and 3
cheetahs died from
FSE in 1989 at the
 London Zoo from
  rendered food.

                                                                                31
            Other Zoo Animals




        Arabian Oryx                        Gemsbok



From 1986 to 1989. The London Zoo lost several varieties of
hoofed ruminants (cud chewing animals), including Nyala,
Gemsbok, Kudu, Eland and Arabian Oryx, (all similar to antelope
or deer), to spongiform encephalopathy. These animals had all
been fed rendered protein.                                    32
                                    Mink
•   Wisconsin is the largest U.S.
    producer of mink.
•   Known as sentinel species, mink
    often show disease before other
    animals because they are fed stock
    animals unfit for human
    consumption from slaughterhouses
    and farms.
•   Contract many bovine diseases-
    anthrax, botulism, tuberculosis.
•   Outbreaks of MSE common,
    devastating to ranchers. “ a single
    outbreak could wipe out all of the
    animals on an entire mink ranch.”1
    100% fatal to mink exposed to
    contaminated feed.                     Ranched for their fur, these carnivorous
•   Isolated prion from autopsy           animals are extremely susceptible to Mink
    indistinguishable from scrapie.        Spongiform Encephalopathy from eating
                                                   other infected animals.
                                                                             33
          Chronic Wasting Disease
                       (Deer and Elk)
•   Chronic Wasting Disease is the
    spongiform encephalopathy
    most similar to scrapie.
•    The infected animals exhibit
    more progressive degeneration
    (similar to Alzheimer's) than
    other TSE‟s.
•   Most likely not contracted by
    ingesting infected proteins, but
    through everyday contact with
    other infected animals in their
    herds.



                                        34
     Lab Tests
•    In laboratory tests, animals were
    injected with active prions from cows
    infected with BSE.
•    The infectious agent was not
    ingested in food as most animals and
    humans would be exposed to the
    prions. Even so, all of the test
    subjects contracted some form of
    prion disease.
      – monkeys
      – sheep (different variation of
         scrapie contracted)
      – goats
      – mice/ rats
      – pigs




                                            35
But we‟ve only had one confirmed
 case of mad cow disease in the
U.S. ! How can we blame BSE for
  all of these other spongiform
encephalopathies occurring in the
      U.S., especially vCJD?

                               36
         “The Cow that Stole Christmas.”
• On December 23, 2003, the first confirmed case of BSE was reported
   on a family farm in Moses Lake, Washington .
• Initially described by federal officials as a “downer cow” the family later
   came out that the cow was in fact ambulatory, and that the test was run
   not because the animal was sick but because the family farm has a
   “special contract with the government to collect brain samples from up
   to 1000 animals for mad cow testing, no matter what their physical
   condition.” 1


 Since the animal was healthy, the program that was begun after this
    discovery by the USDA does not fully address the problem, as it
            only allows random testing on “Downer Cows”.
                                                                        37
The U.S. Beef Market: At Home
               • US local beef market not
                 significantly hurt by
                 discovery of BSE.
               • There was a slight decline in
                 U.S. sales in January and
                 February of 2004. However,
                 in many places sales of beef,
                 both at retail and wholesale
                 dealers, are reported to have
                 increased from the previous
                 years due to consumer trust
                 in government protection.1


                                            38
             The U.S. Beef Market:
              International Exports
       Beef is The United State’s #1 export:
                   $4.3-billion annually
•   Any damage to this international economy would have widespread
    impacts across the country.


•   Because more than 30 nations have now banned beef from the United
    States, Many packing plants are laying off workers and feedlots left with
    thousands of unsold animals. Those that do sell are at such a low price
    that “some feeders feel... lucky if the broke even on each animal sold.”1
    Sales of approximately 9.6 percent of total U.S. production, or 3.1
    billion pounds of beef will be lost if confidence is not regained.


                                                                           39
 “Government officials have placed concerns for the food
       industry over human health and welfare.” 1
              Does this result in a lack of regulation?

• In the U.S. more than 1.8 million cattle collapse before slaughter yet
  are still seen as “fit for consumption”. About 100, 000 of these “die
  mysteriously of what is known as Downer Cow Syndrome” but are not
  tested and are still consumed by humans.2


• only one out of every 18, 000 cows slaughtered for human consumption
   are tested for BSE in the United States. (.000055%)


• The USDA must authorize every test. When a cattle farmer proposed to
  voluntarily test every cow, their request was denied and the practice was
  forbidden across the country. 3
                                                                     40
What information do these countries have that is being kept
from the American public? Do Americans not deserve the
 same protection given citizens all over the industrialized
                         world?

       “It‟s unlikely the single Holstein
 discovered in Washington state is the
 only sick animal ever imported into
 the country from Canada, and
 possibly Europe... Since none of the
 other animals was (sic) detected, their
 infected tissues were almost certainly
 processed into cattle feed years ago,
 spreading and amplifying the disease
 „so that cattle in the U.S.A. have also
 been indigenously infected‟.”- USDA
 Report submitted to Ann Veneman,
 Secretary of Agriculture.1

                                                        41
      So why do we continue with these
           dangerous practices?
• In an effort to contain the problem, in addition to testing,
  many public interest groups have proposed banning feeding
  animal protein to animals.
• 1997 USDA “advisory” barring ruminant (cud chewing
  animal) protein from cattle feed seen as more as a
  suggestion than enforceable. (It is still legal to feed to all
  other animals, however.)
• The Vice President of the American Feed Industry
  Association, Richard Sellers estimates loss of $100
  million annually “if a ban was imposed on feeding
  animal protein to cattle.”1
                                                               42
    Who is more important to the U.S. government,
           their people or their businesses?
  The American public trusts the Federal
   government to protect us, as a parent
    would protect their children. As our
    parent, would they take the risk of
 feeding us something that they know has
  a very good chance of making us sick?
No parent would ever willingly put their
            child in danger.
So too should the USDA, FDA, CDC and
           DHHS care for us.

                                                43
Recommendations to USDA
and FDA to more adequately
    protect consumers :
  (Compiled from suggestions by Physicians
 Committee For Responsible Medicine, Public
  Citizen and the World Health Organization)



                                               44
                            Reccomendations:
1. Restrict marketing of downer cows for any purpose, whether for animal or human
   feed.
2. Create strict regulations for cattle feed that match those of the E.U. nations and
   Japan. “ We need to remember that cows are not meant to eat cows or other
   animals.” Sue Jarrett, Colorado rancher. 1
3. Properly train and equip field personnel to test and report possible cases in a timely
   and effective manner.
4. Properly label potentially contaminated food, (including those product with animal
   byproducts such as gelatin or “natural flavorings”) with stickers similar to salmonella
   warnings on chicken and Surgeon General warnings on tobacco products.
5. Prohibit the use of animal byproducts in cosmetics and medications.
6. Increase communication within regulating agencies to expedite action if necessary.
   Research is performed by National Institutes of Health (NIH), Protection primarily the
   issue of the FDA, Human disease surveyed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
   and all of these agencies are overseen by the Department of Health and Human
   Services (DHHS). Better communication will mean faster response times.

                                                                                  45
 “If you don‟t look for it,
you‟re not going to find it”

        - Howard Lyman, former
           Montana cattle rancher.


                                     46
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       USDA Response to “Report on Measures Relating to Bovine                   Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States” March 2004                        48
       Press Release No. 0105.04 “Veneman Announces Expanded BSE Surveillance Program” March 15, 2004
       Organic Perspectives Newsletter May 2001 “BSE Crisis Boosts Consumption of Organic Dairy Products in Germany.”
                                                                           Image Bibliography


arabian oryx: http://www.geoimagery.com/publishers/UAE/Gjlb65-0021UAEArabianOryxCrp.jpg
baby: http://www.euraupair.com/Images/page11_b.jpg
beef product flow chart: www.mindfully.org/ Food/Mad-Cow-BSE-GAO25jan02.htm
BioHazard: http://www.pharo.com/science/bse/articles/msbs_05a_other_approaches.asp
Carleton Gajdusek : http://home.sandiego.edu/~scare/page0.htm
cjd brain: www.infectiousdiseasenews.com/ 199606/cjd.asp
cowpile:http://cfapp.rockymountainnews.com/cwd/killer/2.cfm
cow tounge: http://www.cite-sciences.fr/francais/ala_cite/science_actualites/media/1/1437/QACTU_IMG_PREVIEW.jpg
elk: http://www.esd.ornl.gov/facilities/nerp/elk.jpg
Farside comics: http://www.r-t-o-l.com/jeroen/ farside/archive/
feedbags: http://cfapp.rockymountainnews.com/cwd/killer/2.cfm
gemsbok: http://www.incentivetouring.com/english/right%20main/topbar_links/wildlife/mammals/gemsbok/gemsbok.gif
Johnathan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/news/7oclocknews/features/cjd_250903.shtml
kuru: http://pathology.mc.duke.edu/neuropath/cnslecture2/cnslecture2.htm
lab rat: http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38155000/jpg/_38155555_guide_mouse2300.jpg
lipstick: www.beautywithin.com/ images/lipstick.jpg
lotion : http://www.oilchem.com/images/lotion.jpg
Mad Cow: http://www.peta-online.org/feat/madcow/cowfoambig.jpg
Mad Cow Map and Key: www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/ health/mad_cow.html
Marsmallows: www.evilegg.org/.../marshmallows.jpeg/ view
mink: http://www.angelfire.com/art2/taxiphotos/mink.jpg
Prion Theory: Time “Mad Cow Primer” January 12, 2004, Vol. 163 Issue 2, p48.
puma : http://www.people.virginia.edu/~rjh9u/gif/puma.gif
pyre of cattle.jpg:http://cfapp.rockymountainnews.com/cwd/killer/2.cfm
rendering: http://www.goodmanconveyor.com/renderinganimalprotein.html
rendering garbage can: www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/ html/rendering.html
rendering vat: http://www.rendertech.co.nz/rendering_processes.htm
rhesus monkey: http://www.awionline.org/lab_animals/rhesus/82-200.jpg
scrapie brain : http://vetmed.chonnam.ac.kr/path/cyber/LaboraP/Clinical/case12/images/case12F3.htm
sheep: http://www.foldedspace.org/photos/sheep.jpg
siamese: http://www.wakefieldfarms.com/images/cats%20-%20elvis%20the%20siamese.jpg
Slaughterhouse: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/110000/images/_110131_slaughterhouse_file_picture_300.jpg
                                                                                                                  49
smiling beef clerk: www.arkcity.net/ stories/072403/
yogurt: www.scusd.edu/.../ info_on_calcium_dense_foods.htm
On a lighter note…




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