Mad Cow: A Dead Horse?

Mad Cow: A Dead Horse?

For the most part, Mad Cow disease is a dead horse.

The health dangers may well be real and important. But since the initial December 2003 discovery of BSE in Washington State, speculation about its impact on markets hasn’t changed much.

Yet last week I finally came across a related story. On September 17, the monolithic Japanese noodle restaurant chain Yoshinoya offered guydon noodles with American beef for the first time since their government banned imports from the U.S. almost three years ago. Big hairy deal right?

Well, it was for the Japanese. Mobs gathered outside Yoshinoya locations throughout Japan. Lines formed before dawn and by opening time were wrapped around whole city blocks in Tokyo. Young men were interviewed who said the Mad Cow ban only made them more hungry for American beef.

Still, my amusement was short lived. Within a few paragraphs, each story about the affair turned its focus toward its anecdotal connection to supply and demand.


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