Mad Lambs: Why Are These Sheep Headed to Slaughter?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is not taking any chances that Europe's mad-cow disease will get a hoofhold here. This week the USDA will destroy 360 Vermont sheep, even though the agency does not know for sure that the animals have the disease--and may not know for two years. The sheep were imported from Europe in 1996. In 1998 the USDA placed them in quarantine after learning they may have consumed contaminated feed. Last July four of the animals developed transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, a class of diseases that includes mad cow. Within days, the USDA issued an emergency order to acquire...

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