It seems fitting that ground beef, and my raw preparation of it, is the ingredient today. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you probably have heard that the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, in six years has been reported here in the United States. The USDA has been quick to point out that the animal in question was a dairy cow and that mad cow cannot be transmitted to human beings via dairy products.
They’re also trying to tell us this case is an anomaly – the cow tested positive for “atypical BSE.” In other words, the cow just came down with it out of nowhere; it was a “random mutation.” Typical BSE is caused by feeding cattle the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal, which is illegal. It is, of course, perfectly legal to feed cattle corn, soy, bakery wastes in the form of stale donuts and pastries, stale candy (still in the wrapper, if I understand correctly) and other things that are not part of a cow’s natural diet. It’s also interesting to note that while it is illegal to feed cows to cows, it is perfectly legal to feed cows to chickens and pigs, then feed those chickens and pigs to cows.
But this isolated case wasn’t caused by the cow’s feed, the USDA tells us. Just so you understand.
I also find it amusing (and irritating)(and alarming) that while the USDA is telling the media, and the media is telling the public, this is an isolated incident, they seem to be downplaying the fact the infected animal was caught by a random test. For all we know, all of the other cows in the herd – whose location has not been disclosed – could be infected, especially since we’ve been told the cow was asymptomatic.
I find all of this extremely disconcerting. Apparently all the laws and regulations in the world can’t keep these animals from becoming ill – illness that happens when a creature, be it human or bovine or canine, consumes a diet that is unnatural to it. Cows aren’t supposed to eat corn or soy or stale donuts; they are supposed to eat grass. Let them do it – preferably outdoors, in a field.
In the meantime, I’m going to go and hug my freezer full of grass-fed beef, delivered to me by a man I know by name, whose farm I have visited, and butchered by people more than willing to let me watch the process.
Do you know who your farmer is?