September 26, 2023

Mad Fish Disease?

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The new case of mad cow disease in California is bringing to light some unsavory feeding practices that the meat industry doesn’t want us to find out about. Most cows don’t just eat grass anymore; they’re fed slaughterhouse waste, blood, and manure, providing a route for mad cow disease to spread.

In Mad Cow California: Stop Weaning Calves on Cattle Blood I explored one such practice, in which dairy calves are weaned on milk “replacer” made with cow blood as a cheap source of protein (after all, their mother’s milk is reserved for grocery store shelves).  We know blood can be infectious with mad cow disease—that’s why if you lived in Europe over the last few decades you may be banned from donating blood here in the U.S. for fear you may be incubating the human form of mad cow disease. Yet we continue the cannibalistic feeding practice of allowing dairy calves to suckle on cow blood products.

In Stop Feeding Cows Chicken Manure I related the meat industry’s fear that people will find out they’ve been cutting corners by feeding American cows tons of chicken feces every year. Just like school lunch officials willing to feed pink-slime-burgers to shave off 3 cents per pound, the livestock industry is willing to feed their wards crap, even when the public is placed at risk.

While cow blood can still be fed to cows, cow brains cannot be. So what happens to your average bovine brain? It gets fed to pigs, pets, poultry, and fish.

Cannibalistic feeding practices can also increase the levels of industrial pollutants in animal products.

In health,
 Michael Greger, M.D.

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A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognised speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at

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