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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mad Cows and Ailing Hens: The Transatlantic Relationship and Livestock Diseases


This paper examines how the emergence and spread of animal diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") or avian influenza have shaped the dynamics of transatlantic trade in live animals and meat products. It then compares the responses of the US and the EU, respectively, to looming, potentially long-term threats of epidemics to human and animal health, focusing particularly on recent outbreaks BSE and avian flu. It documents what appears to be a shift away from a sole reliance on trade embargoes to protect animal and public health from disease outbreaks to deeper, institutional responses on the part of the US and EU respectively. However, while it appears that the EU is learning from the US public health establishment, there is little evidence of transatlantic cooperation in this area.

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