April 16, 2012

Whatever happened to the mad cows?

Arab news

Whatever happened to the mad cows?

By Abdullah Al Alami
April 16, 2012

On April 16, 1996, Oprah did a segment on her show about mad cow disease, in which she stated, “It has just stopped me cold from eating another burger.” She was then sued by Texas cattleman claiming the show made false and disparaging remarks about beef. Oprah eventually won the lawsuit

I don't have anything against beef or cows for that matter, but I'm not too excited about eating beef for various reasons. In order to avoid any legal action taken against me by McDonald’s or Burger King (God forbid), I do pay a visit to some of the fast-food chain outlets once or twice a year. The last thing I want is to “have beef with” some wealthy businessman over a prime rib. So I better keep my words soft and sweet, just in case I have to eat them.

I’m not too excited about eating beef because some reports argue that it contains significant quantities of the most toxic organic chemical known — dioxin. They also argue that dioxin has been linked to certain diseases. I don't want to “beef up” your anxiety, but some even argue that beef can harbor a deadly new germ, called e. coli O157:H7. This germ is a major cause of serious food poisoning.

Beef is the third most widely consumed meat in the world, accounting for about 25 percent of meat production worldwide. Beef is for sure one of the principal meats used in the Saudi cuisine. However, some beef restaurants in Saudi Arabia promote the ambiance more than the quality of food.

To me, beef is beef weather it's “Medium well”, “Medium rare” or “Well done”. For those who like ribs, they're usually served big and juicy. One day I'll tell you about our favorite dish “Kabsa”. In North America and Europe it is common to see restaurants with “Halal” sign, meaning beef has been certified to have been processed in a prescribed manner in accordance with Muslim dietary laws.

When — and if — I go to a fast-food restaurant, I make sure to avoid side-orders of other fatty foods (such as french fries). I don't intend to compete in the Olympics, but I know for a fact that these “additives” lead to obesity. We need the media to highlight the dangers of obesity and effective means to treat it. Statistics show that 60 — 65 percent of the Saudi society suffer from overweight, obesity and associated diseases. Most of us constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized.

Many times we mistreat nature to the extent it becomes “beefed out”. This is certainly wrong, stupid and not fair. Activists argue that beef production is the major cause of the destruction of the world's rainforests in a never-ending cycle of destruction. Thousands of species of plants and animals have already been destroyed forever, and the earth's ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen has been strained. Some even argue that at current rates, the rainforests will be totally destroyed in 30-50 years.

I don't want to “pick up another beef”, but it is no secret that beef production is the major cause of "desertification" around the world, and we certainly don't need it here. We don't want additional factors to destroy the delicate root systems which keep the topsoil layer intact. As a matter of fact, it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of beef.

Tweet: All the desirable things in life are either illegal, expensive or fattening.


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