JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Preventing BSE contamination. Hands using a knife to remove the spinal cord from a cow carcass in an abattoir. This is done to prevent the possible transmission of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), or mad cow disease, through the food chain. BSE has been linked to the fatal human condition vCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Both these diseases are caused by abnormal virus-like forms of the prion protein PrP which gradually destroy the brain. The head, neck, spinal cord and thymus are now removed from cow carcasses to prevent food contamination. Photographed in an abattoir in the Cotswolds, England.
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