First there was mad cow disease. Then just when you thought you had seen enough death and suffering of innocent animals, along comes another epidemic called foot and mouth disease.What I want to know is how plague-like diseases are assigned such silly, innocent names.They’re almost humorous, projecting the most bizarre images in one’s mind. Mad cow disease: careful, there’s a mad cow out there on the loose. Foot and mouth disease: now the mad cow has some sort of athletes’ foot- only cows do not have feet. The silly names do not do justice to the serious nature of the diseases: Mad cow disease is a degenerative brain disorder which affects the cattle with loss of coordination, staggering gait, disinterest in their surroundings and no interest in food and water to name a few. The brain of the cow develops holes, which are sponge-like in texture. Signs of this disease show at 3 to 10 years of age. Thankfully, foot and mouth disease is not harmful to humans, but unfortunately for the cow, it spreads so fast that entire herds must be destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading. Foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus affecting cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, swine, sheep, goats and deer. Some symptoms are a sudden rise in temperature, blisters in the mouth and tender skin on the feet. This bovine, not so divine, disease appeared in Paris, France in February of this year. The 211 infected cows were found on the same farm that once held sheep from Britain. In a failed effort to control the highly contagious virus, which scattered to 80 farms around the country, French officials decided to destroy the 20,000 British sheep, along with the 30,000 French sheep. Altogether, 50,211 animals were killed. And the slaughter continued.British officials ordered the deaths of all sheep in a 3-kilometer range, whether or not they showed any signs of infection. After the discovery of the disease in Europe, the U.S. banned all imports of animals and animal products, so we can feel safe eating our own cows.So anybody up for McDonalds? No? I don’t blame you. No wonder fish and chips is so popular in England.