Mad Cows Coming Home to Roost

Flock of chickensThe global increase in grain prices may make the meat supply less safe. The European Union is considering a relaxation of feed bans that prohibit animal by-products being used as feed for other animals in the human food chain. The proposal would "allow pig remains to be used to feed poultry" and would be the EU's first exception made to strict regulations enacted to respond to the BSE, or mad cow disease, crisis of a decade ago. Feeding pigs to pigs, cows and chickens is widespread and legal in the United States, which has had mad cow disease since the 1990s and is covering up its extent. But the European plan is facing opposition from a wide range of parties, including consumer groups, animal rights activists, and Muslim organizations. With nutritionists predicting that "there will be such a backlash from consumers that the idea would have to be dropped," some grocery outlets are already going on record as not being willing to carry the pork-fed poultry. The EU's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that it could "only support it if we were fully satisfied that appropriate and effective testing had taken place to control the use of such proteins in poultry feed." Meanwhile, the Korean government's decision to sell US beef in that country has led to massive street protests in the capital. CMD staffers John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton wrote about the issue of feeding animals to other animals in their 1997 book "Mad Cow USA."