Mad Cow in America


At its June 29th news conference in Washington, DC, the United States Department of Agriculture veterinarian Dr. John Clifford continued to mislead the press and public by misrepresenting cattle feed regulations in the United States. In essence, Clifford is telling lies about the risks to both cattle and people from mad cow disease in the United States.

Dr. Clifford, the chief veterinarian of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) referred again, as he has in the past, to the 1997 US feed regulations as a “ruminant to ruminant feed ban.” They are not.

The 1997 regulations which required feed mills to label cattle meat and bone “Do Not Feed to Ruminants” specifically exempted cattle blood and cattle fat, which continue to be fed to calves and cattle legally and in massive quantities. Much calf milk replacer and calf starter contains dried cattle blood plasma, cattle red blood cells and cattle serum as a protein source. Hundreds of millions of pounds a year of ruminant blood and fat are fed to cattle and other ruminants each year in the United States.

Blood can transmit mad cow disease and the UK government has announced that two individuals dead of human mad cow disease probably contracted the fatal prion dementia from human blood products infected by donors with human mad cow disease, vCJD.

In early 2004 the now-head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Lester Crawford, testified before Congress on the need to ban the feeding of ruminant blood to ruminants in the US. Yet, the practice continues.

In addition, one million tons a year of “poultry litter” is fed back to cattle, and according to Dr. Crawford up to 30% of it can be contaminated with meat and bone meal.

The so-called US ‘firewall feed ban’ is a PR myth.

The USDA did announce that this mad cow was born and raised in Texas, and slaughtered in Waco, but not much more was revealed. Waco is not far from the vacation ranch of President George Bush.

JOHN STAUBER works for the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. He is the co-author of Mad Cow USA.


















John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author.  His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for YouMad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception.  In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to exposed corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns.  He retired from the Center in 2008.