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Mad cow disease is back?

Fitness tips, Relaxation, Mind and Body
Mike4
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Mad cow disease is back?

#663732

Postby Mike4 » May 10th, 2024, 4:40 pm

A brief ten second report on R4 at lunchtime says a case of BSE has been found on a farm in Ayrshire. Movement restrictions have been put in place around the farm, the outbreak has been isolated and there is no risk to the public.

Yeah right. That's what they said last time too, wasn't it?

dionaeamuscipula
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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#663749

Postby dionaeamuscipula » May 10th, 2024, 7:01 pm

Mike4 wrote:A brief ten second report on R4 at lunchtime says a case of BSE has been found on a farm in Ayrshire. Movement restrictions have been put in place around the farm, the outbreak has been isolated and there is no risk to the public.

Yeah right. That's what they said last time too, wasn't it?


As long as you don't eat any specified risk material (essentially brain and spinal cord), that is pretty much correct. Given that the BSE epidemic was caused* by feeding rendered meat products to farm animals, and that isn't done any more, my gut feel is that this is a different form of bovine dementia, but who knows, I'm not a vet. Certainly cases of the similar sheep disease scrapie crop up from time to time.

The worldwide number of vCJD cases worldwide BTW is 231 of which 178 are UK. Meanwhile in the 21st century, 74 people in the UK have been trampled to death by cattle.

DM

* there are two very strange things about BSE. One is that in the UK there was a curious clumping effect in cases, when you would expect a wide distribution. The other is that a really vast percentage - 97% - of the reported cases were in the UK, despite the fact that the practice of feeding cattle with rendered meat product was very widespread throughout Europe and other areas. The USA very quickly reduced their testing numbers (Japan test rate was 100%). Apparently it was very easy to tell which cattle had BSE from their behaviour, but I am not saying that the very few cases in the USA were accidents from picking the wrong cattle to test, no siree.

Mike4
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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#663761

Postby Mike4 » May 10th, 2024, 8:01 pm

dionaeamuscipula wrote:
Mike4 wrote:A brief ten second report on R4 at lunchtime says a case of BSE has been found on a farm in Ayrshire. Movement restrictions have been put in place around the farm, the outbreak has been isolated and there is no risk to the public.

Yeah right. That's what they said last time too, wasn't it?


As long as you don't eat any specified risk material (essentially brain and spinal cord), that is pretty much correct. Given that the BSE epidemic was caused* by feeding rendered meat products to farm animals, and that isn't done any more, my gut feel is that this is a different form of bovine dementia, but who knows, I'm not a vet. Certainly cases of the similar sheep disease scrapie crop up from time to time.

The worldwide number of vCJD cases worldwide BTW is 231 of which 178 are UK. Meanwhile in the 21st century, 74 people in the UK have been trampled to death by cattle.

DM

* there are two very strange things about BSE. One is that in the UK there was a curious clumping effect in cases, when you would expect a wide distribution. The other is that a really vast percentage - 97% - of the reported cases were in the UK, despite the fact that the practice of feeding cattle with rendered meat product was very widespread throughout Europe and other areas. The USA very quickly reduced their testing numbers (Japan test rate was 100%). Apparently it was very easy to tell which cattle had BSE from their behaviour, but I am not saying that the very few cases in the USA were accidents from picking the wrong cattle to test, no siree.



Thanks DM, that's all quite reassuring.

The one bit that still concerns me is your first sentence. Does all of that stuff really get thrown away or could some of it be finding its way into (e.g.) those packs of 12 beefburgers for 99p sold in the discount stores (or so I've read)?

I still don't eat beefburgers or any sort of processed beef since last time around, hence my interest being piqued by that news report, since squashed.

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#663769

Postby Urbandreamer » May 10th, 2024, 8:42 pm

Mike4 wrote:Thanks DM, that's all quite reassuring.

The one bit that still concerns me is your first sentence. Does all of that stuff really get thrown away or could some of it be finding its way into (e.g.) those packs of 12 beefburgers for 99p sold in the discount stores (or so I've read)?

I still don't eat beefburgers or any sort of processed beef since last time around, hence my interest being piqued by that news report, since squashed.


Well....
Not in beefburgers.

However historically stock has been made from scorched bones. You may note that beef bones were banned in the UK, though I think that the ban has been revoked.
A T bone steak or ox tail soup in a restaurant might be ill advised, if you are concerned.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_Bone ... tions_1997

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#663788

Postby Hallucigenia » May 11th, 2024, 12:46 am

Mike4 wrote:A brief ten second report on R4 at lunchtime says a case of BSE has been found on a farm in Ayrshire. Movement restrictions have been put in place around the farm, the outbreak has been isolated and there is no risk to the public.

Yeah right. That's what they said last time too, wasn't it?


Well there's been a couple of cases (something like 7 in the last 20 years) where there's just been one case and that's it, I suspect we're just much more paranoid about testing and finding one-off cases of cows with any kind of neurological problem that would have just been ignored previously.

You can certainly tell when they've got BSE - I've only seen one bad case but it's really distressing to watch, it ended up trying to hurdle a 10' hedge, which didn't end well...

France is the classic case where BSE was strangely completely absent for a long time, which meant they weren't subject to the same trade embargoes as other countries.

Of course now post-Brexit, it's all a mess - consignments from Europe to the UK aren't subject to the same standards at the production site and we're not testing on entry because Remainer blob wokeist Jacob Rees=Mogg thinks it would be an act of self-harm to do so, but when we do do spot tests, we eg find that 21 out of 22 loads from Romania had illegal meat in them.

It's not just in animals that people try to hide problems - when I worked for The Ministry, one particular country was notorious for not declaring plant diseases that would crop up in our testing.

But at the moment I'd be less worried about BSE and far more worried about bird flu, the US have seen extensive transmission in cattle herds and some crossover to and from humans, but it's being minimised either deliberately or through incompetence.

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#663827

Postby Nimrod103 » May 11th, 2024, 10:49 am

I read an article yesterday that scientists consider this Ayrshire case a spontaneous occurrence, and is not transmissible to humans (reassuring?), and is different from the transmissible vCJD of the early 1990s.

I have always found the whole saga of the 1980-90s vCJD outbreak difficult to fathom, and I have read some quite outlandish theories about its origin.

Dion… - What is this clumping aspect of cases you mention?

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664141

Postby dionaeamuscipula » May 13th, 2024, 5:37 pm

Nimrod103 wrote:
I have always found the whole saga of the 1980-90s vCJD outbreak difficult to fathom, and I have read some quite outlandish theories about its origin.

Dion… - What is this clumping aspect of cases you mention?


I can't find the article that I recall reading many many years ago which talked about a clustering effect at a local level. I could understand it so the likelihood is that this was a general rather than scientific article. There is an article here:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... 7705000395

which talks about clustering effects and seeks to explain them mainly through differences in agricultural practice. This is not written for a general audience so I can't understand it quite so well. They are talking about regional clustering, whereas the article I remember discussed clustering within regions. Actual scientists (such as some on here) will probably say its all llobocks. There's an article on line about clustering in Switzerland as well.

One of the persistent suggestions is that there was some link between BSE and the use of organo-phosphates. At the time I met up with an old mate whose career path (goats, mainly) and mine were as different as could be imagined, and it turned out we had both read the same paper on this subject. However I have seen some work recently (that I've seen recently, not that was produced recently) that states that there was no noticeable link.

My view generally is that eating beef in the UK is safer than pretty much anywhere. For a while I only ate organic beef in the USA, but (a) I don't go much any more and (b) I'm old now and Fast Food Nation was published a long time ago.

DM

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664156

Postby kempiejon » May 13th, 2024, 7:36 pm

dionaeamuscipula wrote:My view generally is that eating beef in the UK is safer than pretty much anywhere. For a while I only ate organic beef in the USA, but (a) I don't go much any more and (b) I'm old now and Fast Food Nation was published a long time ago.


Fast food nation still resonates is the UPF* movement the same?
I think USA beef is battery cow there's quite a few of the diet USA people talking about grass fed beef. Presumable because they usually get food pellets. I as I understood it British beef usually eats grass - if not exclusively. I should check I know an ex cow farmer.



*Ultra-processed food is an industrially formulated edible substance derived from natural food or synthesized from other organic compounds. The resulting products are designed to be highly profitable, convenient, and hyperpalatable, often through food additives such as preservatives, colourings, and flavourings.

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664189

Postby Mike4 » May 14th, 2024, 12:35 am

Another definition of UPF I quite like is:

Any food containing an ingredient or ingredients you wouldn't find in your kitchen cupboards or larder at home.

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664194

Postby servodude » May 14th, 2024, 1:42 am

kempiejon wrote:
dionaeamuscipula wrote:My view generally is that eating beef in the UK is safer than pretty much anywhere. For a while I only ate organic beef in the USA, but (a) I don't go much any more and (b) I'm old now and Fast Food Nation was published a long time ago.


Fast food nation still resonates is the UPF* movement the same?
I think USA beef is battery cow there's quite a few of the diet USA people talking about grass fed beef. Presumable because they usually get food pellets. I as I understood it British beef usually eats grass - if not exclusively. I should check I know an ex cow farmer.



*Ultra-processed food is an industrially formulated edible substance derived from natural food or synthesized from other organic compounds. The resulting products are designed to be highly profitable, convenient, and hyperpalatable, often through food additives such as preservatives, colourings, and flavourings.


Most British beef cattle are "grass fed" - the ratio is about 20:1
- it's the opposite in the US... only about 5% of cattle - which is bloody crazy given the space they have and drives a lot of the practices which should turn you off eating meat of unknown provenance from there (growth hormone being less of a concern than antibiotics)

Even among those cattle some might end up being finished in feed lots (on grain) for a bit - the labelling gets a bit iffy (100% grass fed vs grass fed vs pastured :? )

Dairy is a different story (if you are concerned about "battery cow") and IIRC there's still decent proportion of beef sold in the UK from dairy stock

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664218

Postby ReformedCharacter » May 14th, 2024, 9:50 am

servodude wrote:Most British beef cattle are "grass fed" - the ratio is about 20:1
...
Dairy is a different story (if you are concerned about "battery cow") and IIRC there's still decent proportion of beef sold in the UK from dairy stock

Do you have a reference for the figure of 20:1? It's likely misleading if it's assumed that those cattle are only fed on grass. It's likely that for the 20 in the ratio, the majority of the diet comes from grass\silage\haylage but that the diet is augmented with concentrates, ie. the supposed route of BSE infection. I also expect the majority of cattle are fed some form of concentrates post-weaning. A quick search shows plenty of suppliers of concentrates for beef cattle :)

It's certainly true that 'non-premium' beef will be from old dairy cattle and they get plenty of concentrates.

RC

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664228

Postby kempiejon » May 14th, 2024, 11:15 am

servodude wrote:Dairy is a different story (if you are concerned about "battery cow") and IIRC there's still decent proportion of beef sold in the UK from dairy stock

I am and have jacked in cows milk, I am choosing not to scrutinise goat husbandry and have tried vegan options

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664230

Postby servodude » May 14th, 2024, 11:18 am

ReformedCharacter wrote:
servodude wrote:Most British beef cattle are "grass fed" - the ratio is about 20:1
...
Dairy is a different story (if you are concerned about "battery cow") and IIRC there's still decent proportion of beef sold in the UK from dairy stock

Do you have a reference for the figure of 20:1? It's likely misleading if it's assumed that those cattle are only fed on grass. It's likely that for the 20 in the ratio, the majority of the diet comes from grass\silage\haylage but that the diet is augmented with concentrates, ie. the supposed route of BSE infection. I also expect the majority of cattle are fed some form of concentrates post-weaning. A quick search shows plenty of suppliers of concentrates for beef cattle :)

It's certainly true that 'non-premium' beef will be from old dairy cattle and they get plenty of concentrates.

RC


I'll check.
I'm sure the American figure is < 5% for pastured and I thought the UK figure was the opposite way round (but I might be conflating it with our Australian beef herds).

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Re: Mad cow disease is back?

#664378

Postby servodude » May 15th, 2024, 8:24 am

servodude wrote:
ReformedCharacter wrote:Do you have a reference for the figure of 20:1? It's likely misleading if it's assumed that those cattle are only fed on grass. It's likely that for the 20 in the ratio, the majority of the diet comes from grass\silage\haylage but that the diet is augmented with concentrates, ie. the supposed route of BSE infection. I also expect the majority of cattle are fed some form of concentrates post-weaning. A quick search shows plenty of suppliers of concentrates for beef cattle :)

It's certainly true that 'non-premium' beef will be from old dairy cattle and they get plenty of concentrates.

RC


I'll check.
I'm sure the American figure is < 5% for pastured and I thought the UK figure was the opposite way round (but I might be conflating it with our Australian beef herds).


OK apologies for the delay (I was in the middle of restringing a big mandolin when I last replied and got side tracked).

Looks like you're correct and I was mistaken (probably in memory rather than the maths but who knows?)

This https://www.countrysideonline.co.uk/articles/climate-friendly-farming gives a figure of 87% of UK beef herds

And this https://truorganicbeef.com/blogs/beef-wiki/australian-beef-vs-u-s-beef-15-differences gives the quote:
The 97% Australian Grass-Fed production statistic is an almost direct mirror image of the US where only 4% of annual production is fully Grass-Fed.

- so the 20:1 is closer to the USA Aus ratios and the UK is nearer 7:1

but... as alluded to, there's a lot of fuzz around the edges where a "grass diet" might be supplemented; hopefully with grain, rather than sheep brains these days, but it might be harder than you think to tell.

Certainly hanging about in a pasture seems a better life than being raised in a feed lot- but they can still be neglected or exposed (especially on big properties)


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