Mad Cow Disease Is In The
US Says Nobel Prize Winner
Reprinted from

After more than two decades of research on prions, Stanley Prusiner of UCSF suggested that mad cow disease must be present in US cows at low levels.
Prusiner, who spoke at a May 30 congressional caucus luncheon, said the longer animals live, the more likely they are to develop the disease. He said he agreed with a Wisconsin researcher [Prof. R.F. Marsh], who believes mad cow disease was linked to US cows in the mid-1980's.
Prusiner criticized the British government for setting up an expert panel with members chosen by the government, rather than by an independent body such as the National Academy of Sciences. He stopped short of recommending measures to halt the potential spread of the disease in the US, citing the complex chain of economic, political, and scientific variables affecting policy decisions.
Many factors conspired to cause mad cow disease in Britain, including the deregulation of the rendering industry, he said. The fat content increased in meat and bone meal fed to cows. While more than 160,000 cattle have come down with the disease, the numbers peaked in 1992 and are beginning to drop off there. The practices that led to the disease's spread stopped in the late 1980's, he said. Today, there are an estimated 1,000 cows dying of the disease every month.
The California researcher said scientists still don't know whether diseased cows can affect humans. He said it's still unclear what route exposes cows to the disease, whether through cuts in their mouths or [infectious agent] carried by white blood cells.
He took the opportunity to urge Congress to step up funding of biomedical research.
Organic Consumers Association -
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