My free floating anxiety has latched onto Mad Cow Disease as the next thing to be worried about and for the past 2 or 3 days I've been a vegetarian. That article talks about how disgusting our meat preparation industry is.
I'm not particularly squeamish about what parts of animals I might have ingested, but hearing how they use "mechanical recovery of meat off the vertebrae"... ugh. (At least we're not like Britain, where for a long time they used solvents to get the last bits off the bone for gravies and sauces and the like.) In general, whenever you go for meat that's been exposed to the spine or brain (more likely to happen with the use of pneumatic stun guns in the USA) you're at risk for CJD. (CJD is like Ice-9 for your brain, specialized forms of proteins called prions that catalyze/teach the proteins in your head to become... more prions!)
And hearing how we feed ground up cow to our cows... man, that just seems mean-spirited. And using newer vacuum-based low temperature meat prep to save energy might not seem all that clever in the long run.
I don't think my risk factor would be all that high, even if I was eating meat.(Which is good, I don't know how long I'll be 'on the wagon'-- luckily there's a Au Bon Pain near work that has really good, generous salads.) Even with my recent trip to Germany, and a 1995 trip to England. Each bit of beef is like a lottery ticket... your chances of 'winning' CJD is very small each time (unless you're eating brains or something) but a lifetime of it isn't such a good thing.