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The Last Page
Sane Choices in a World of Mad Meat
by Steve Warrington
CEO - Ostriches
There has been a lot of press lately about the problems in Europe with several
diseases affecting the quality and safety of red meat. Fortunately, there
are alternative red meats available that are not affected by these diseases.
This article is meant to be a simple breakdown of the diseases, possible origins
and affect on humans.
I'll start with foot and mouth disease (FMD).
Foot and Mouth is a highly contagious viral disease affecting cows, sheep, deer,
pigs and goats. Wild and domestic cloven hooved animals including elephants,
hedgehogs and rats can also be affected.
As far as I know, there has never been a confirmed report of ostrich with FMD
even though the ostrich is a cloven hooved animal. Nor have there been any
reports of emu or rhea contracting this disease.
The virus is spread very quickly, particularly in colder weather and although it
is not deadly, it causes severe lameness, loss of appetite and is visible by
blistering to the mouth and feet.
The FMD virus can be carried and spread by many animals (including humans), by
chickens, horses, by airborne methods and by cars, trucks and other vehicles
that are not disinfected after exposure to an infected area.
FMD is not a killer itself. The symptoms cause lack of appetite and lameness,
which in turn creates total lethargy and an abstention from breeding. Because of
the rapid spread, countries affected in Europe have attempted to eradicate the
disease by culling. Some countries have introduced a vaccination program.
The current outbreak, which started in England and quickly spread to Wales,
Scotland, and Ireland and then to mainland Europe, has not, as far as I am
aware, caused any risk to human health.
There are many speculative stories about how the outbreak started, from
illegally imported and tainted food, to the army using poorly treated meat which
was subsequently given to pigs as pig-swill to other stories that a government
owned research laboratory tried to cover up an accidental spillage/leakage of
the disease whilst testing a new vaccination for FMD.
Overall .......... it is quite safe for humans to eat meat or drink milk from an
animal which may have FMD or the FMD vaccination.
Now I'll move onto BSE, CWD, CJD, nvCJD, Scrapie, Alzheimer's et al.
BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) or mad cow disease is a brain wasting
disease affecting cows - mostly in Europe.
CWD (chronic wasting disease) is a brain wasting disease affecting deer, elk and
other venison - mostly in North America.
Scrapie is a brain wasting disease affecting sheep - world-wide.
CJD and nvCJD is a brain wasting disease affecting humans - mostly in Europe.
For the sake of this
article and to keep it brief, I am going to refer to all these diseases
collectively as BSE, unless there is a specific point to make about one in
BSE is caused by animals eating animal protein. This is the processed animal
offal, bones etc which can provide a high source of vitamins and minerals to
It has been known for many years that older sheep get scrapie. It has been known
for years that older cows appear to go mad and it has been known for years that
older venison start to wobble and go mad and it has been known for years that
older humans get Alzheimer's disease.
The emphasis on the previous paragraph is the word "OLDER"
Young animals/humans have not, until recently shown these symptoms.
BSE causes a disease that leaves holes in otherwise healthy brains, as do all
the other diseases mentioned. What is majorly different is that these diseases
have now begun to appear in younger animals and humans.
Well quite possibly, the root of the problem began in the late 1960's and early
1970's when Organophosphates were used extensively and in high concentrations as
an animal dip. Organophosphates include DDT and they are a deadly killer of many
flies, bugs and other insects that can affect livestock production.
Organophosphates also caused severe nerve damage in humans.
Organophosphates (OPP) usage was encouraged in many countries and in the UK,
farmers were encouraged to paint a thick layer of an OPP solution onto the backs
of cows to combat warble fly. Farmers were also encouraged to dip their sheep in
OPP solutions to kill fleas and ticks.
These OPP's were absorbed into the bloodstream and from there they began to
attack the nervous system and specifically prions (prions are infectious
proteins). Once these infected prions began to circulate, they started eating at
the brain. This resulted in BSE of animals of all ages, not just older
BSE has a long incubation period - years - and slowly but surely the disease
continued to eat away at the brains of all animals that had been treated with
These animals were then processed and some of their offal and by-products,
including bones, were processed and then fed to other animals - labeled as
animal protein. This animal protein was already itself infected - and so started
a catastrophic chain reaction.
As the concentration of the prions grew higher, the disease began to become more
noticeable. As each animal was continually fed animal protein and then
processed the levels in each generation rose.
Humans caught the disease from infected animals by eating animals that had been
fed animal protein.
The human disease is called nvCJD - new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
CWD (chronic wasting disease) is rife in the USA and Canada - it affects
hundreds of thousands of deer, elk and venison and is responsible for the direct
death of at least 2 hunters who ate CWD infected animals.
So far, no farmed ratites (ostrich, emu or rhea) have been reported with the
disease. This is largely due to major ratite feed producers, such as Blue
Mountain, refusing to use animal byproducts in their feeds and their efforts at
educating the farmer.
The European and Asian demand for alternative red meats, including Ostrich, is
so great, that producers are unable to supply the ongoing requirements of many
of the large supermarkets and meat wholesalers. The great news for Emu farmers
is that these overseas meat wholesalers and supermarkets are now beginning to
make enquiries to the US Emu Association!♦
Steve Warrington is owner and CEO of Ostriches On Line, the worlds largest
International Ostrich Company. He is also single
and available..... So if you are a young, single, nubile and cuddly female - why
not send him an email? firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Ostriches On Line, contact:
2218 N 75th Ave
Elmwood Park, IL USA 60707
Tel +1 708 452 7596
Fax +1 708 452 7510
or visit online at http://www.ostrichesonline.com