The Bones of Mad Cows and Contemplations of Human Greed

Greed fosters bad things, whether it be oil spills or mad cow disease. Bill Barrell contemplates greed and how it brings odd shapes and forms to his paintings…..

Untitled painting, Bill Barrell

 –  This painting stems from a period I went through while trying to understand certain aspects of human greed and the Mad Cow Disease. That disease came about from pure greed.  Why was it allowed to happen?

Like the current oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, regulations were ignored in order to save money.

It was a known fact in the 1950s that if cows were fed meat or meat by-products, they would go mad. There is meat and then there are by-products of meat and it was the by-products that caused the problem.  The people who used the brains and spinal cords of slaughtered animals knew full well they should be discarded as this is where the disease resided. But they ignored that fact and thought of the investors and the bottom line. Those by-products also ended up being used in such meats as baloney and hot dogs. I often look at hot dogs and think what a scam. Who knows what goes into them?

Well, none of this is news now. But I was able to vent my spleen by doing a series of mad cow paintings.

This particular painting incorporates me as I felt as angry as the cows.

Is that cow parts I see being fed into my brain via my ear?  Am I changing into a hot dog?  Is this me turning into a spongiform? Am I coming down with the dreaded Mad Cow Disease? I feel as one of them.

I hope that things have changed for the better and that the practice of feeding animal waste to grass and grain eating animals is in the history books. But greed, as we now see with the oil companies being a prime example, will often overcome virtue. –

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