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Mad Fish Disease

The new case of mad cow disease in California is bringing to light some unsavory feeding practices that the meat industry doesn’t want us to find out about. Most cows don’t just eat grass anymore; they’re fed slaughterhouse waste, blood, and manure, providing a route for mad cow disease to spread.

In Mad Cow California: Stop Weaning Calves on Cattle Blood I explored one such practice, in which dairy calves are weaned on milk “replacer” made with cow blood as a cheap source of protein (after all, their mother’s milk is reserved for grocery store shelves).  We know blood can be infectious with mad cow disease—that’s why if you lived in Europe over the last few decades you may be banned from donating blood here in the U.S. for fear you may be incubating the human form of mad cow disease. Yet we continue the cannibalistic feeding practice of allowing dairy calves to suckle on cow blood products.

In Stop Feeding Cows Chicken Manure I related the meat industry’s fear that people will find out they’ve been cutting corners by feeding American cows tons of chicken feces every year. Just like school lunch officials willing to feed pink-slime-burgers to shave off 3 cents per pound, the livestock industry is willing to feed their wards crap, even when the public is placed at risk.

While cow blood can still be fed to cows, cow brains cannot be. So what happens to your average bovine brain? It gets fed to pigs, pets, poultry, and fish. What are the public health implications of feeding cow brains to fish? Find out in my video posted above.

Cannibalistic feeding practices can also increase the levels of industrial pollutants in animal products. See my 3 min. video Cannibalistic Feed Biomagnification. And for more on the risks of aquaculture, check out Farmed Fish vs. Wild-Caught (2 min.), Artificial Coloring in Fish (1 min.), and Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free? (3 min).

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: GloomyCorp / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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12:27AM PST on Dec 30, 2014


12:26AM PST on Dec 30, 2014


4:09AM PST on Dec 29, 2014

not very surprising

5:53PM PST on Dec 27, 2014

Its disgusting to know what the animals are being forced feed on each other in the food that they eat

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Intriguing, fish on cow brains? One wonders what some one will think up next for specifies unspecific foods? Care2 says that they are maintaining the site at 9 p.m. pacific time, here it is 3:52 p.m. eastern time so it should be much earlier in Lotus Land-California time-since eastern time in Canada is not even remotely near nine p.m. pacific time--yet my comments are not showing up. It should therefore be midnight before pacific time hits the fan here--but maybe they decided to do this earlier, who knows?

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Intriguing, well my comment may well show up later since I get the points for hitting the comment bar but the comment does not show up at the moment. Strange, maybe they just changed the maintenance times?

Feeding fish foods that do not fit the natural food of the species is ridiculous, but then pumping cows full of hormones to have them grow faster has me preferring the free range and organic cows thank you.

6:22AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

oh no

7:29PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012


6:34AM PDT on Jun 14, 2012


4:39PM PDT on May 11, 2012

A reason to avoid meat fed with chicken feces:

Arsenic In Chicken Feed May Pose Health Risks To Humans

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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