Mad Cow Desease is real and should not be made light of. People in the us have been dying of it for a while there just happens to be a certain amount of media denial involved (I blame the beef industry and their lobbies). Michelle at Motley News’ mother died of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in 1986 (see her article here).
The problem: the spring-riots in South Korea over mad cow decease were fake/staged. All the spring time riots are. For the most part, the riots and demonstrations are a way for South Korean college students to get out of their end of semester testing. It has also become a great way to meet women. Yes, there are a few sincere protesters, but only a very few.
Rioting in South Korea is so fake (and practiced/rehearsed) no one pays attention to their represented causes anymore except the international press. Policy makers in Korea are rarely influenced by spring-demonstrations unless the demonstrations have almost a million protesters present. “Mad Cow” got to that height in 2008, but most of those protesters were present only to express their fears over a NAFTA type trade agreement with the US when world markets were collapsing. However, those protests were peaceful and happened over a long period of time.
The violent, silly protests (the ones where the water cannon operators are trying to rip off women’s clothing with their water cannons) that we see in the international press are the rent-a-mob type. The “real” (how about “effective”) ones are never televised or internetized here (or not enough to justify spending advertising dollars or from fear of virulent beef lobby attacks).
Unfortunately there are good reasons to protest in South Korea, but because spring riots are so trite, no one cares what they are saying. Most consider them a nuisance. The spring riots always happen near the busiest shopping districts (NamdaeMun and DongdaeMun) and the busiest subway stations (DongdaeMun Yok, Shichon Yok, Jonggak Yok and Jongno samga Yok) and the tear-gas drifts into the crowds of business people, shopping house wives and international tourists choking them and turning them against what ever issue the protesters might have.
Besides, the spring-riots are really only an effective way to meet women and to get out of tests. South Korean spring-riots rarely influence change.