IS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE vCJD?
In my last installment on the CAFO industry I cover the other two cannibal circuits that leave our meat industry wide open for a disaster. Also, we do have evidence that some forms of Alzheimer’s disease are indeed vCJD. However, we simply do not know the true prevalence of vCJD but if the source turns out to be from the cattle we are in for a major FUBAR. Let’s start right were we left off last time…..
Perhaps a lot has happened. Nobel Prize for medicine laureate Dr Carleton Gajdusek an expert on prion diseases estimates that 1% of the three million patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease actually have vCJD. Other estimates range as high as 12%. Confounding the picture is that at autopsy CJD brains sometimes look much like the brains of Alzheimer’s patients both grossly and microscopically leading some researchers to speculate that Alzheimer’s may in fact be a prion disease. Equally as baffling since there is no reporting requirement for CJD and since pathologists routinely refuse to do autopsies on suspected patients because of the prion’s notorious virility and the impossible task of sterilizing procedure rooms and equipment, The true prevalence of prion diseases in this or any other country remains a mystery.
CANNIBAL CIRCUIT NUMBER TWO
Unfortunately, the United States still allows the feeding of some of these potentially risky tissues [nervous system tissue] to people, pigs, pets, poultry, and fish. Cattle remains are still fed to chickens, for example, and the poultry litter (floor wastes that include the feces and spilled feed) is fed back to cows –as much as three tons per year per cow. In fact, beef from animals fed bird droppings may in fact even be more juicy and tender. In this way, prions — the infectious proteins that cause mad cow disease — may continue to be cycled back into cattle feed and complete the cow “cannibalism” circuit blamed for the spread of the disease.
CANNIBAL CIRCUIT NUMBER THREE
A study co-authored by D. Carleton Gajdusek, found that “consumption of pork as well as its processed products (e.g., ham, scrapple) may be considered risk factors in the development of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.” We continue to feed slaughterhouse waste and blood to pigs, downer pigs and all pig guts get rendered and fed back to cattle which completes cannibal circuit number three. This raises the question whether any of the hundreds of thousands of downed pigs that arrive at slaughter plants every year in the U.S. may be infected. Since pigs are killed at about 5 months we also may not be seeing manifestations of diseased animals at such an early age.
THE LETHIFEROUS WINDS OF PLAGUE
From 1979 to 1996 only one case of sporadic CJD in America-in 18 years-was reported in a less than 30 year old. From 1997-2001 we have five deaths in young Americans. That’s five deaths in five years verses one in the previous 18 years. Something to ponder. What about now? As I mentioned earlier we simply do not know the prevalence of CJD or vCJD since we have no record keeping mandate in any but a couple states. Furthermore, it is difficult to diagnose as mentioned above. We do know that Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases are exponentially rising in America. Whether any of this is due to prion disease is speculation but if even a tiny bit is true we could be awash in disease and not even know it. That is until it’s too late.
GUTS TO GUTS ASHES TO ASHES
There are no safeguards in place to protect us from what could be the greatest health hazard in US history. Recently Canada instituted tighter control in order to rid their system of mad cow. The enhanced ban prohibits most proteins, including potentially BSE infectious tissues known as “specified risk materials” (SRM) from all animal feeds, pet foods, and fertilizers, not just from cattle feed as required by the ban instituted in 1997. In America the 1997 enactment prohibited importation of animals from known countries with mad cow and the restriction of SRM’s from entering the food chain such as rendering plants and animal feed. SRM’s are spinal cord and nervous tissue. But as any child with a biology book in front of her knows nervous tissue doesn’t stop at the spinal cord. It perfuses the entire body of course. This is another Duh moment. If prions concentrate in nervous tissue then it’s everywhere which is exactly what the two Nobel Laureates in Medicine quoted above have been telling us. It’s in the butter, the milk, and the muscle, Duh.
In the US millions of pounds of ruminant protein much of it from downer cows and pigs are still fed to steers and dairy cows every year. That means we are left with an industry that still feeds cow and sheep guts to cows, pigs, chickens, pets, zoo animals, humans (pink slime), and sheep. Not to mention the three cannibal circuits in place that virtually guarantee mad cow amplification and other disgusting practices like feeding chicken shit soaked wood chips to cows even if it does make your steak juicier (yuk).
It’s business as usual for the USDA. They fiddle we burn. Why we let these fat asses at the USDA who have a conflict of interest the size of Jupiter determine our health risks is beyond my comprehension. I keep thinking of the series Boardwalk Empire where you get a sweet insider’s look at politics-real politics as it was practiced then-which is identical in form and substance to today’s opportunistic ilk. Are we ever going to learn? Or are you more interested in sports, your 12 foot flat screen TV, or your new El Camino? Protecting powerful lobbying interests for the rendering, feed, and cattle industries is, and always will be, USDA’s primary concern. What we do with this information should be our primary concern. If not I’ll be seeing you in the ICU! Hey that rhymes!
For a great resource in helping you find grass fed or organic local farmers try www.localharvest.org.
That does it for CAFO. Next week I’ll surprize you with another new section. Be sure to check out inflaNATION.com and sign up for my newsletter which gets you a big discount on the book when it comes out next summer.
Chris Rasmussen MD, MS the “reality renegade” because truth is more real.