Mad Cows and Mad People: Analyzing Governmental Liability in the Event of a BSE Outbreak and the Ethical Implications for Governance in Our Country


There is no known cure for the family of diseases known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies. These include the infamous Mad Cow disease-technically known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)--as well as its human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Although BSE was initially diagnosed in Britain in 1986, the first U.S. regulation to prevent BSE was not enacted until three years later. This delayed reaction proved to be a trend amongst the regulatory agencies responsible for keeping the U.S. food supply safe and BSE-free. The focus of this study is to delineate the degree of U.S. government liability in the event of a BSE outbreak. This study takes into account the various aspects of administrative law as it relates to liability, along with the numerous medical and scientific documents from domestic as well as international authorities, to determine governmental liability. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the U.S. regulatory agencies concerned with food safety have created legislation consistently favoring industry concerns over those of public health. The legal system of a truly civilized society should be derived from ethical principles, which are then applied to institutions like the economy. When the process is reversed, when laws are based on industrial or economic concerns, ethics becomes an after-thought. This thesis sheds light on the government's handling of the threat of BSE: its shortcomings, competence, failures and successes. - ---


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Thesis Completion





Hawkins, Ronnie


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Office of Undergraduate Studies

Degree Program

Liberal Studies


Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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