Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, also known as Mad-Cow Disease, has shown up in Great Britain, Japan and Canada in recent years, destroying the beef economies in those areas and hurting beef demand worldwide. On Dec. 24, 2003, the United States was added to that list.

The Links

There are plenty of good, quality BSE Web sites on the Internet, which can be found by checking at your favorite search engine. The top government sites are:

The Latest:

Feb. 10, 2004: Final BSE update from USDA
Jan. 30, 2004: BSE update from USDA
Jan. 27, 2004: BSE, CJD, other brain-wasting diseases not created equal, says MU veterinarian
Jan. 27, 2004: Food safety firewalls strengthened against BSE
Jan. 24, 2004: Herd mates found stands at 27
Jan. 23, 2004: Search for infected cow’s herd mates leads to Idaho
Jan. 23, 2004: BSE hurts meatpacking industry
Jan. 19, 2004: Progress slow at finding BSE-infected cow’s herd mates
Jan. 15, 2004: U.S., Canada to work together to end beef ban
Jan. 15, 2004: USDA officials confirm Quincy cow is from Canadian herd
Jan. 13, 2004: Digester can destroy deadly BSE prions
Jan. 13, 2004: Despite mad cow, shoppers stay bullish on beef
Jan. 13, 2004: U.S. meatpackers lay off workers amid export ban
Jan. 12, 2004: USDA wants faster BSE test results
Jan. 12, 2004: California legislators want all cows tested for BSE
Jan. 12, 2004: AMI to host BSE briefing
Jan. 12, 2004: USDA starts slaughter of 129 dairy cows
Jan. 12, 2004: FSIS publishes new BSE surveillance rules
Jan. 8, 2004: BSE today: What's going on and what are the issues
Jan. 7, 2004: Cull cow prices still strong in Washington state
Jan. 7, 2004: Can calves contract BSE?
Jan. 6, 2004: Poll: Consumers say U.S. beef supply is safe
Jan. 6, 2004: DNA test confirms cow came from Canada
Jan. 5, 2004: USDA adds safeguards against BSE
Jan. 5, 2004: Third Washington herd quarantined
Jan. 5, 2004: USDA orders 450 calves to be killed
Dec. 30, 2003: Get accurate information on BSE
Dec. 24, 2003: Possible BSE cow discovered
Search Dairy Herd Management Archives for BSE stories

The Archives (from

May 28, 2003: More cattle being tested for BSE in Canada   
May 22, 2003: Canada quarantines three ranches due to BSE  
May 21, 2003: Restaurants, food companies respond to Canadian report of BSE  
May 20, 2003: BSE discovered in Canada
Feb. 27, 2003: U.S. security against mad cow disease not air tight
Oct. 16, 2002: Identity crisis: Animal health and security drive the need for animal identification
Dec. 21, 2001: Consumers remain confident that U.S. beef is safe
Dec. 5, 2001: BSE detection plan of notification
Nov. 8, 2001: Threat of agroterrorism is remote-but be prepared
Dec. 7, 2000: Mad cow disease not a U.S. problem  
Related news articles from the Drovers Archives

The U.S. Firewall:

The following were set up to keep BSE from entering the United States and had worked up until Dec. 24, 2003:

  • A series of import bans dating back to 1989 ensure no live cattle and cattle products are imported from any European countries.
  • In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned at-risk animal protein in cattle feed. While feeding animal protein to cattle doesn't cause mad cow disease (only infected animal protein can spread the disease), the ban would keep the disease from spreading should it ever occur in the U.S.
  • A 10-year surveillance program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found no sign of the disease in America's cattle herds.