East Texans React to "Mad Cow" Threat - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/27/03-Tyler

East Texans React to "Mad Cow" Threat

News that a cow in WashingtonSstate had the disease commonly referred to as "Mad Cow" has threatened to send beef prices spiraling down. The thought that a $200 billion dollar industry, could be brought to its knees by one cow is daunting. But veterinarian Louisa Schmid says that's not likely.
"The infectious organism or agent it's not even an organism, is very difficult to get rid of but the chances of getting this are extremely low."
Schmid is not only a veterinarian she holds a PH.D.. Over the years she's done research on diseases like BSE and says, while it's unlikely it would ever make its way into the U.S. food supply, she understands why consumers would be afraid.
"The problem is this disease is very scary," she said. "It is invariably fatal if you do get it."
It's that kind of talk that has beef producers on edge. With the threat of losing billions in exports they depend on American's to ask "Where's the Beef" many here in East Texas say they'll keep doing that.
"I think it's just a news story and I really don't think it's going to affect us at all," said consumer Johnathan Beall.
"I think a lack of knowledge is what scares people they don't' know exactly what it is, how it is transmitted and they don't know how it could affect them from consuming beef," consumer Rita Walker said. "I'm not too concerned. I'll continue to eat beef."
As officials continue to track the infected cattle, beef producers hope you'll feel the same way. The USDA is tracking those cattle that entered the U.S. along with the one found to have "Mad Cow" in Washington State. They hope to pinpoint the location of all of them by next week, and curb any fears American's and those abroad may have about the American beef supply.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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