Where's the Beef?

photo: creperie, les halles

Actually, there's not much 'beef' in an average crêperie.

Mad Cow Psychosis In France

Paris:- Sunday, 12. November 2000:- France is like most other countries with a population of slightly over 60 million, and Paris is like most other cities that have about 11 million residents. Being 'like' means that there is news all the time.

For both the city and the country the big news was - and is - the psychotic behavior of the people who live here. As I walk around the streets and hang out in my favorite café, I has not been noticing much in the way of any mass psychosis.

Yet the newspapers and even the TV-news say it is happening and it is all around.

The problem seems to be that France's cattle industry is producing 'mad cows.' Apparently, if you eat one of these there is a remote chance that your brain will change into a spongy mess.

Readers with long memories may recall that Britain was afflicted by the same problem a couple of years ago. The big news at the time was France's refusal to permit the import of beef from the UK because it might be tainted with this 'mad cow' thing.

That crises was somehow overcome - probably by means of a truckers' strike - but shortly after the beginning of this year I began to notice that detection of 'mad cows' in France was running at the rate of about one per week.

This was reported as random and seemingly unrelated news. Each time one 'mad cow' wasphoto: new metro entry, place colette found, the whole herd it belonged to was eliminated, destroyed, burnt to ashes, disappeared.

This would be reported and forgotten. Then about a week later another 'mad cow' would be found; and so on and so forth.

The RATP's latest creation for a métro entry - at the Place Colette.

None of these reports mentioned anything about British cattle and seemed to be unrelated to any truckers' strikes.

In late June, when the number of found 'mad cows' and destroyed herds numbered about 26, I began to wonder what was going on. Now that we are at the end of the 45th week of the year, the number of detected 'mad cows' has surpassed the number of weeks.

Relatively suddenly, everybody has noticed it all at once, and everybody in France has become 'psychotic.' Beef sales are off by 30 to 50 percent.

School canteens have banned beef. Frantic customers are running into butcher shops and shouting out orders for 'anything but beef!'

According to TV-news, perfectly ordinary cows become 'mad' by eating animal feed that is partly composed of other animals. This is not something that is found in nature, so it is not the cows' fault.

Depending on what you read or hear on radio or see on TV-news, this kind of cattle feed was banned some time ago - or - big or! - the authorities have been thinking about banning it, for about the past four years.

Some cattle ranchers - possibly the green-tendency types - switched long ago to only feeding their herds veggie things that cows like to eat; like ordinary grass.

But now that we are all 'psychotic,' this effort makes no difference because the beef-food chain treats all cows alike. Only the rancher himself knows what his cows have been eating.

Last week the government decreed that all cows about four years old or older are 'mad cows.' Labeled as such, these cows will not get into 'our' food chain; they will be 'disappeared.'

The government has yet to decide whether to ban all animal feeds containing animals. Because of our psychotic natures, we are suddenly supposed to be wary of 'mad fish' disease and 'mad chicken' disease.

This is bad news. Because all of the people who have been consciously avoiding 'mad cows' have been eating fish or chickens or both. Or pork or rabbits or lambs or even escargots.

To put it mildly, France is in a tizzy.

Imagine, the country that is the world's home of the bonne bouffe has nearly nothing left that is safe to eat - except grass.

With this going on, you'd think that you would bephoto: oyster bar, vavin, montparnasse constantly tripping over people lying in the street because they are suffering so badly from starvation that they can no longer make it to the corner café for a café and a calva.

Could oysters have 'mad cow' disease?

As an semi-expert eye-witness, I can positively state that the sidewalks are not littered with near corpses. As a shopper at my neighborhood marché I have seen with my own eyes ordinary people calmly buying all the stuff they usually buy, even rillettes.

As a habitual café-goer, I can report that they are just as full as ever at lunchtime - and a lot of people are actually eating France's national dish of steak-frites perfectly without any apparent fear.

So, 'what's the beef?' you may want to know.

Without having hard facts other than what I've observed, I have to assume that the entire 'psychosis' concerns the people who work for news organizations such as newspapers, radio and TV.

None of the farmers shown on TV-news have shown any symptoms of 'mad cow' disease - other than anger at having their cows destroyed in wholesale lots.


Continued on page 2...
Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini