Mad Cow Disease can be contracted via ingestion of contaminated meat,
but, according to current studies, it also spontaneously occurs, on its
own, in roughly one out of a million cows. Given the fact that the U.S.
beef industry slaughtered nearly 400 million cows in the last ten years,
statistically speaking, that should add up to an expected minimum of 400
spontaneous Mad Cow cases inside U.S. borders. Since the USDA only tests
roughly one out of every 2,000 animals, only one case has been
discovered so far, while the others have slipped through— possibly
into the human food supply. Of course, that’s just counting the
spontaneous occurrences of the disease. In addition to the spontaneous
cases, there are an unknown number of cows infected with the disease by
other cows. This has gone undetected, as well. The incubation period of
the disease is three to eight years, so the detection of one animal with
the disease suggests the strong likelihood that other cows were infected
by the same source but haven’t been found yet. A 1997 FDA memorandum
predicted that if just one case of Mad Cow Disease was found in the U.S.
and a total ban on feeding animal protein to animals was implemented,
it’s still possible that as many as 300,000 infected cows would be found
over the period of the disease’s incubation period (three to eight
years). In short, due to scant USDA testing, no one knows how many
infected animals have already entered the human food supply.