As we’ve told you many times, the number of mad cow disease cases in the United States is very easy to quantify: zip, zilch, zero, nada. In Colorado, the Pueblo Chieftain got a harsh reminder of this earlier in the week after running a Saturday front-page story claiming that two recent Denver deaths had been attributed to mad cow disease. In response, Colorado’s chief medical officer set the record straight, flatly denying that Americans are in any danger. “It’s fine to eat meat,” he said.
This kind of carelessness is the indirect result of the sort of fear-mongering that we uncovered in our groundbreaking report, Mad Cow: A New American Scare Campaign. Anti-meat activists have been trying for years to link mad cow disease with a naturally-occurring wildlife sickness called Chronic Wasting Disease (found in deer and elk). This week, though, the Associated Press reported that neither cattle nor humans are in danger from this illness. The Edmonton Sun has also weighed in with a story that’s set to run in TIME Canada next week, saying that “the Centers for Disease Control in the United States has studied the disease and found no link between it and any neurological disease that affects humans.” Look at it this way: sometimes a little dose of the truth is the best vaccine.