Stories of the third case of so-called “mad cow disease” (also known as BSE, or bovine spongiform encephalopothy) emerging in Alabama have apparently generated yawns of disinterest from participants in markets for fed cattle and beef retailers. Though fed cattle markets (including futures) have softened (and in the case of some futures contracts, prices have declined significantly), the mad cow case did not have the same dramatic impact that the first one in the U.S. had.
In part, this is due to the scientific reality. None of these animals entered the food chain. The cow in Alabama was old, and possibly ingested feedstuffs that are now prohibited (though even this proves to be an unproven theory about the cause of this disease). It was killed by a veterinarian and buried on the farm. There was no risk to the food supply as a result. And people may now believe this, which is good. Sometimes fears arise in us which cause us to do things we later regret or dismiss as a silly overreaction (does anyone see an analogy with Dubai?).
Meanwhile, back in Japan, which has closed its markets to us based on fears about mad cow (or more likely based on protectionist trade practices), a website I often consult about cattle, the Cattle Report, reports that Japan has now reported its 23rd case of BSE.
The website can be found here: http://www.agcenter.com/cattlereport.asp
See what I mean about protectionist trade practices?