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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 6.14:
Would the laws of Kashrut prevent Mad Cow Disease?


Mad Cow disease is believed to result from the consumption of cattle that have been fed food that unwittingly included tissue of diseased beef. The laws of Kashrut do not forbid feeding cattle food containing beef products (although Judaism would prohibit knowingly feeding the cattle diseased food). Additionally, the methods used in kosher slaughter reduce the likelihood that prions would spread (specifically, an article ( from CPSI indicates that many slaughterhouses "stun" cattle with a pneumatic gun that instantly renders them brain dead, but the practice can spread brain tissue throughout the animal, and thus provides a potential route for "Mad Cow Disease" to enter the nation's food supply. This practice is mandated by law—except for kosher slaughter.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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