Another reason to become a vegetarian?

As reported in a number of different outlets, the first confirmed case of so-called “mad cow disease” has been reported in the continental United States. BBC News reports that:

“The United States has reported its first suspected case of “mad cow disease”, or BSE, in Washington state. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said a Holstein cow had tested positive – but she insisted US beef was safe. Hours later, Japan and South Korea declared a temporary ban on imports of American beef, depriving cattle farmers of their largest Asian markets.”

While the possible consequences of an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy can’t be overstated (it cost UK farmers billions of dollars and ended with the destruction of over three million head of livestock), I do vaguely wonder if it might not encourage more people to eschew red meat and become a vegetarian…

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