Sea chick wrote on another thread (Don't know how to quote from one thread to another) about the terrible things that beef producers are allowed to feed their cattle. Not only is it yucky, it could be deadly. Mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, and it's human variation, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, is fatal for both cows and humans. A tiny malformed protein called a prion is the BSE culprit. Prions affect the nervous systems of infected cows, and cause death. How do cows contract prions? FROM EATING OTHER COWS. Dead cow byproducts get mixed into their feed. (This was in the 1980s) BTW, the UK eradicated BSE after the 80s outbreak. Now US policies restrict feeding cow tissue directly to other cows, but still allow cows to be fed to other animals (like chickens) and the waste from the chickens to be fed back to the cows. Prions are not killed by extreme heat or any known drug, and survive this process easily. "Not a single case of BSE, anywhere, has ever turned up in cattle that were raised and finished on pasture grass and organic feed." This information was taken from, and a lot more is available from a book by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver called , "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" The book covers many interesting topics and is highly entertaining and readable. They also have a website by the same title.