CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)



With all that has been written and said about this topic in recent weeks, I have been a little disappointed that the journalists covering the story have failed to ask the most obvious question: What could be so awful as to make a cow mad?

It seems that everyone in England is swearing off beef after an outbreak of something called mad cow disease, an ailment that drills microscopic holes in your brain cells, eventually leading to such aberrant behavior as watching nine innings of baseball and actually enjoying it.

In the first place, I can’t understand why it took those folks over in England (Englanders) so long to make the connection between eating cows and going bloody bonkers. I mean, all you have to do is take one look at those beefeaters they’ve got over there and you can see the terrible effects of the disease – Marge Simpson hair and a tendency to stare straight ahead despite valiant attempts by helpful foreign tourists to break your trance.

But I think it is a credit to the compassion of the people of Great Britain (Great Britains) that they allow these people to hang out at the palaces of the royal family and at the House of Commons (Not-So-Great Britains), and that they change them several times a day. Imagine the cost in diapers alone.

What made the cows mad in the first place is anyone’s guess, although I suspect it had to do with being forced to participate in cow patty bingo games by a yokel wearing leather boots who referred to his cattle as “doggies.” But the scariest part of the whole thing is that scientists believe the condition was passed on to the cattle when they (the cattle, not the scientists) were fed the brains and spinal cords of other animals.

The result of this, of course, was that the cows changed from docile, cud-chewing herbivores to crazed, meat-eating carnivores who suddenly started cornering the farmer in the leather boots into a corner of the barn and, with newly evolved cow fangs and a Clint Eastwood squint, getting right up in the farmer’s face and, in a low, guttural voice, growling, “I’ve got three stomachs and I’m hungry, farm boy. Make my hay.”

Anyone who was unfortunate enough to eat meat from one of these crazed cows would themselves become loony tunes in a condition known to the medical community as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease but more commonly referred to as Elsie’s Revenge. Symptoms include chewing your food 3,000 times before swallowing, weight gain and a herd mentality.

Researchers said they would have detected the ailment much sooner, but they originally misdiagnosed the victims as simply being Republicans.

The man in charge of finding a solution to the problem in the United Kingdom (or UK, better known as the Wildcats) is Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg (there’s no way I could have made up a name that good). At one point, Minister Hogg believed he had found a solution to the suddenly aggressive and sentient behavior among the cow population.

“We’ll force them to watch American baseball until they once again become dull, stupid animals,” Hogg said.

But the plan didn’t work. The infected cattle just ate the outfield and any players using leather gloves.

So now the Brits plan to kill all cows over 30 months old or when they can no longer give milk. They estimate that will amount to about 15,000 cows a week over the next six years. The 15 European Union nations have applauded the move, saying it will confine the disease to the island that is England.

Unless, of course, the cows learn to use the Chunnel.

Marty Russell is senior reporter for the Daily Journal.

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