I was mixing some ground lamb, turkey sausage, and turkey thigh meat into a mix with Parmesan cheese and herbs to make meatballs for Ted's birthday party dinner (spaghetti and meatballs, of course), drinking a glass of wine, listening to some music, and my mind drifted to Mad Cow disease...and I started thinking about that...about how my mother-in-law doesn't want any of us to eat beef anymore because of it, etc. Well, the safest answer to mad cow disease is of course to not eat beef, but that's not so likely, since I kind of think of it as the same as trying to keep people from having sex (abstinence only education) or from driving (to save our environment, or because of how many people die on the highways every year). People are going to do what they're going to do, and truly, the risk of mad cow is pretty darned slim. Even if I choose to become vegetarian for my own safety, or for my own enjoyment, or for moral/ethical reasons, that doesn't mean I want to worry about the safety of my friends' when THEY go to Outback or something. Then I started thinking that, unlike sex or driving, the solution to mad cow is truly, truly simple. Expensive, perhaps, but simple.
Kill the cows. Really, I'm not kidding. Not all of them, of course, but the old ones, yes. Mad cow is caused by feeding the cattle meat-by-products (making them into cannibals, you know, truly gross). This practice has been illegal for something close to 10 years in the United States. (Not sure exactly...someone could look it up if they wanted to...) Ever since the Mad Cow scare in Great Britain. (And of course, you could easily get me off on a tangent about how many people died in that...a couple of hundred maybe, vs. the number of people who die because of handguns in their homes in the U.S. in any given year, and how no one is about to give up their guns any time soon, but please, let's stay on topic, ok?) So, what if we didn't allow any more cows into our country that are older than 10 years old, from Canada or Mexico or ANYWHERE, so we wouldn't have to worry about getting diseased cows from somewhere else. And then, we have a cull or whatever they call it, and we kill all of the cows that are older than 10 years old in the United States (that are in any way possible going to enter the food supply, at least...not your neighbor's pet cow, if she has one!). Would this be cruel? Yes, but if they're going to end up hamburger anyway, it's simply a matter of time. Would it be expensive? Yes, the cattle industry would lose a LOT of money. But couldn't we subsidize this enterprise? I would think the U.S. government would (or at least, SHOULD) be willing to have a one time expense to ensure that everyone would be safe, that people could trust that U.S. meat is safe, and we don't have to worry about ordering a burger at the corner restaurant.
Keep your condoms and seat belts handy, for other unsafe practices, but I'm thinking of writing a letter to my congresswoman.