Older Than Strom Thurmond

Why is the New York Times (via the Reuters news wire) referring to a flock of Vermont sheep seized today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “Suspected ‘Mad Cow’ Sheep”? The disease that these sheep have is called “scrapie” (SCRAY-pee). It’s been common to European sheep populations for over 500 years. There has never been a documented case of scrapie transmission to humans. While it does resemble mad cow disease in some ways, the two maladies have about as much in common as the flu and the common cold. CBS’ inflammatory news story (“Mad Sheep Scare in Vermont”) added fuel to the fire, and did far more harm than good.

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