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It is remarkable how many diseases are in animals. Unfortunately, a number of them can be passed on to humans.

There are six types of animal diseases: bacterial diseases, fungus diseases, viral diseases, parasitic diseases, hereditary diseases, and diseases caused by environmental factors.

Animals suffer from so many diseases. Bacteria causes white diarrhea, which is often fatal to chicks. Distemper and hog cholera result from virus infection. Coccidiosis, a protozoan infection, is a destructive disease of poultry; it also attacks cattle, hogs, and cats. As this book is written, Europe, America, and an increasing number of other nations are having cattle problems involving mad cow disease, hoof and mouth disease, and Pfiesteria piscicida pollution of rivers.

A partial listing of the diseases, a number of which humans can contract from animals (such as tuberculosis or brucellosis from raw milk), are listed below. For further information, check the bibliography at the back of this book.

Question: Can hoof and mouth disease (erroneously called "foot and mouth disease") cause sickness in humans? Yes, it can. "Humans have been known to catch hoof and mouth disease from animals. Symptoms in humans are sometimes confused with the flu. For those who are sick or elderly, it could be deadly" (Robert Cohen, Earthlink, March 15, 2001).

BACTERIAL DISEASES—Some bacteria produce powerful poisons or toxins. This would include the Botulinum bacillus, the Tetanus bacillus, and the bacillus causing gas gangreen.

Other bacteria cause local or general death of body tissues, block the flow of blood, or cause severe irritation. One of the most widespread of these is Salmonellosis, or any disease caused by Salmonella bacteria. One of these is Pullorum disease, caused by S. pullorum, which is a continual threat to the chicken and turkey industry.

Leptospirosis, caused by spiral bacteria of the genus Leptospira, kills cattle, dogs, and humans. This bacteria is often in ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water. Rodents may also carry the infection.

Bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium can produce tuberculosis. Breathing can pass this from man to animals and vice versa. Milk from tubercular cattle can also contain tuberculosis.

Anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis, affects both humans and domestic animals. Resistant spores are carried in the hair, hides of animals, or in floodwaters and can easily be transmitted.

Pasteurellosis, or any infection caused by bacterium of the genus Pasteurella, such as fowl cholera caused by P. multocida, which affects domestic poultry, rabbits, and other animals.

There are tiny, soft-walled bacteria of the genus Mycoplasma, which cause a variety of diseases in animals and humans, including infectious sinusitis in turkeys, pleuropneumonia in cattle, and chronic respiratory disease in chickens.

Parrot fever, formerly thought to be a virus, is now believed to be caused by bacteria of the genus Chlamydia. Some serious diseases that occur in both humans and animals are in this group.

VIRAL DISEASES—There are a broad variety of virus infections. They include equine infectious anemia, Newcastle disease, hog cholera, fowl pox, rabies, canine distemper, encephalitis, along with many others.

Several viral agents cause tumors in poultry, known as leukosis complex.

Influenza viruses cause serious problems in swine, horses, and birds.

Some viruses spread from mother to offspring through the placenta or through the egg. Others are very resistant and can survive in dust. Yet others require intimate contact to be contagious. Still others are spread by the bite of arthropods (spiders).

As with many other animal diseases, many of their viruses can be passed on to man.

FUNGUS DISEASES—Many serious diseases in animals are caused by fungus diseases, and some can be transmitted to humans. Aspergillus fungi may cause necrosis of the lungs, the nervous system, and other organs. A yeast-like fungus, Candida albicans, may cause death in turkeys and other animals. It is also a problem for humans. Dust-borne fungi, such as Coccidioides immitis and Histoplasma capsulatum, produce lung disease or generalized disease in both animals and man.

PARASITIC DISEASES—Parasites attack all animals, and range in size from tiny protozoa to meter-length kidney worms. When people eat animals, they can take in some of those worms if the meat is not well-cooked.

Protozoan diseases include the coccidiosis, which affect geese, rabbits, as well as other creatures. The malarias include Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus protozoa. An example of flagellate infections includes trichomoniasis (Trichomonas gallinae in birds, T. fetus in cattle) and trypanosomiasis, also known as nagana, surra, and dourine, caused by flagellates related to the agent of African sleeping sickness.

Worms include helminths, and comprise a large group of parasites, including roundworms (nematodes), flukes (trematodes), tapeworms (cestodes), thorny-headed worms (acanthocephalan), and tongue worms (linguatulidae).

The adult tapeworms are found in animal intestines; and their larval stages often do great damage in body tissues of secondary hosts (including people). Larval dog tapeworms (echinococcosis) form large cysts in the liver, lungs, and other organs of humans and animals.

Roundworms, while in the migrating larval stage, cause great damage to lungs and other organs. Capillaria worms attack the lining of the stomach. Adult heartworms, Dirofilaria immitis, live in the hearts of dogs and produce microscopic larval stages which swim in the blood. Larvae of Strongylus vulgar causes arterial obstruction, with resultant digestive troubles and even lameness.

We will not take the space in this book to discuss infections which food animals themselves have, other than the spongiform diseases. The data could fill a large book. The diseases include carcinoma (cancer) in cattle, hogs, and chickens; mastitis (udder infection) in cows, worms, trichinosis, and many other infections. Information on this is available from various sources. Some of these little creatures produce interesting effects. They do not all kill; some just maim for a lifetime. For example, trichina are tiny worms which, when infected pork is eaten, travel through your bloodstream and burrow into your muscles. They remain there the rest of your life, causing minor aches and pains.



"Emerging diseases of animals" is the technical name for new animal diseases—which apparently never before existed! This is a very serious matter. The animal kingdom is becoming a reservoir of disease.


"United States Animal Health Association, 1997 Committee Reports, Committee on Foreign Animal Diseases.

"Emerging Diseases: An Urgent Issue in Animal Health, Corrie Brown, DVM, Ph.D. Professor and Head, Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

"In recent years, emerging diseases have moved to center stage in the biomedical community. They have become the focus of numerous scientific reports and the subject of intensive experimental and epidemiological research. Most of the attention has been directed to emerging diseases of the human population; in fact, animal diseases are also emerging at an ever-increasing rate. The animal health community needs to be aware of the importance of emerging diseases and needs to increase preparedness for dealing with these new diseases.

"The factors responsible for emerging diseases include [1] movement to a susceptible population, [2] disruption of the environment, [3] crossing to a new species, and [4] changes in husbandry. All of these factors are inherent in the global village that exists today. In the following extended quotation, numbers within parentheses refer to cited references listed on p. 122.

[1] "Concern about diseases moving to susceptible human populations captured the attention of the general public when ebola virus was found in Reston, Virginia; and this event was loosely transformed into a best-selling book and movie. Shortly after, in a grisly life-imitates-art scenario, the world watched an outbreak of highly virulent ebola virus in people in central Africa. Animal diseases, while not stimulating the same level of awareness, have been moving around the world at unprecedented rates.

"In 1993, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was taken to Italy from Croatia; in 1995, it traveled from Turkey to Greece. Just this year, FMD moved to Taiwan, causing the destruction of 5 million pigs and costing $5 billion in lost trade opportunities.

"Taiwan had been free of FMD since 1929; incidentally, the last outbreak of FMD in the United States occurred in 1929. Also this year, hog cholera virus got into Holland on a manure-contaminated truck from Germany, causing mass animal and economic disruption. With the current trends toward increased movement of animals and people around the world, the term ‘exotic disease’ may become oxymoronic.

[2] "Disruption of the environment has caused new diseases to emerge. All of the hemorrhagic fevers of humans fall into this category. Lyme disease emerged as a human health problem when people began to move closer to the tick vector and vice versa. In the animal health realm, examples of disease outbreaks related to environmental changes include velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease, fowl cholera, and duck plague—all occurring with increasing frequency, largely due to congregations of waterfowl as wetlands availability decreases (5). Phocine distemper in the North Sea may well be the result of altered migrations due to overfishing (3). The periodic increases in toxic dinoflagellates, including Pfiesteria piscicida, are related to increased nitrogen content in the water, perhaps due to agricultural waste runoff. Eco-tourism, which brings humans and all their microflora into remote areas containing endangered species, is an issue that deserves attention from animal health specialists.

[3] "Crossing to a new species. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy crossing the species barrier to humans in the form of variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease has heightened general awareness about this method of disease transfer (9). This crossing of species boundaries is a well-known phenomenon in numerous diseases of animals. Canine parvovirus is one of the first extensively characterized examples (7). In recent years, canine distemper virus has adapted to African lions, causing high rates of mortality in the Serengeti Plain in North Tanzania. (1). A new disease of horses, first called equine morbillivirus, has been determined to come from a species of Australian bat (10). Finch conjunctivitis is a result of Mycoplasma gallisepticum crossing from chickens to house finches (4). A new concern on the horizon is the issue of xenotransplantation. The intimate apposition of pig and human tissue raises possibilities of disease transference in both directions.

[4] "Husbandry changes are becoming increasingly recognized for creating disease emergence. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy may be the most obvious example, as a simple change in rendering procedures is thought to have precipitated this disease (8). Tuberculosis in elk and deer, due to captivity or winter feeding, has emerged as a serious problem (2). The occurrence of E. coli O157:H7, of great concern to the meat-eating general public, may be related to husbandry practices in the feedlot (6). Antibiotic resistance poses serious threats to the control of bacterial diseases; and considerable responsibility rests with animal husbandry practices. The recent advent of mammalian cloning makes monogenetic animal agriculture a possibility, a husbandry shift that could have devastating disease consequences. As we strive to feed the growing population of the world with updated and refined technologies, husbandry changes are inevitable.

"Because of all the factors inherent in our highly populated, industrialized, technologically advanced world, it is a certainty that new diseases of animals will continue to arise. With our brisk domestic and international trade, movement of disease agents to susceptible populations will continue to occur as there is ever-increasing traffic of animals and animal products. Environmental disruption, although receiving more preventive attention than in the past, will undoubtedly accelerate, with all the ramifications for new diseases. Growing possibilities of cross-species transfer of agents is inevitable as animals become more crowded and more creative and artificial habitat situations are created. New husbandry changes will continue to be implemented as we strive to devise new ways of growing food for a burgeoning human population.

"The role of animal health specialists in emerging diseases will be to maintain a vigilance with respect to detection of each new entity as it arises and to maintain an awareness to help prevent their occurrence. Another integral role to be played by this community is in the experimental research of both animal and human diseases. Since virtually all of the experimental manipulations are performed in animals, veterinarians with advanced specialty training in laboratory animal medicine, pathology, and microbiology can provide the greatest expertise on interpretation of changes in animal systems, and can help to make progress in the most informed and efficient way."


References [For purposes of clarity, names of articles and books have been placed in italics while authors and magazines have not.]

1. Anonymous: 1994, "Serengeti’s big cats going to the dogs," Science 264:1664.

2. Clifton-Hadley, R.S.; Wilesmith J.W.: 1991, "Tuberculosis in deer: A review," Vet Rec 129:5-12.

3. Duignan, P.J.; Saliki, J.T.; St. Aubin, D.J.; et al.: 1995, "Epizootiology of morbillivirus infection in North American harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and gray seals (Halichoerus grypus)," J Wildl Dis 31:491-501.

4. Fischer, J.; Converse, K.: 1995, "Overview of conjunctivitis in house finches in the eastern United States, 1994-1995," Proc AAZV/WDA/AAWV Annu Conf.

5. Friend M.: 1995, "Increased avian diseases with habitat change," in Our Living Resources - a report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems, eds. LaRoe, E.T.; Farris, G.S.; Puckett, C.E.; Doran, P.D.; Mac, M.J., pp. 401-405, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Service, Washington, D.C.

6. Garber L.P.; Wells, S.J.; Hancock, D.; et al.: 1995, "Risk factors for fecal shedding of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 in dairy calves," J Am Vet Med Assoc 207:46-49.

7. Parrish, C.R.: 1992, "Canine parvovirus 2: A probable example of interspecies transfer," In: Emerging Viruses, ed. Morse, S.S.: pp. 194-202, Oxford University Press, New York.

8. Wilesmith, J.H.: 1994, "Bovine spongiform encephalopathy: epidemiological factors associated with the emergence of an important new animal pathogen in Great Britain." Seminars in Virology 5:179-187.

9. Will, R.G.; Ironside, J.W.; Zeidler, M.; et al.: 1996, "A new variant of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease in the UK," Lancet 347:921-925.

10. Young, P.L.; Halpin, K.; Selleck, P.W.; et al.: 1996, "Serologic evidence for the presence in Pteropus bats of a paramyxovirus related to equine morbillivirus," in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 2 (3).

Other committees or reports, involved or referred to, include: Members of the Committee on Foreign Animal Diseases. Report of the APHIS Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Worldwide Status of Animal Diseases, 1996-September 1997. Report of the Committee on Foreign Animal Diseases.



Many people think that they can switch to chicken and fish, and avoid the problems produced by beef and pork. But such individuals are still on a meat diet. And there are problems with the meat.

Substituting chicken or fish for red meat will not help you avoid any of the health risks associated with diseases of mammals. It will not save you from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, or osteoporosis. The same threats exist as if you eat red meat. This is due to the fact that chicken and fish are high in fat (especially saturated fat), high in cholesterol, too high in protein, high in pesticide residue, and devoid of fiber and complex carbohydrates (McDougall, McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart, 1996, p. 49).

Many people think that chicken and fish are low-cholesterol foods, or at least considerably lower than beef. But a 3.5-oz. serving of beef has 8.5 mg. of cholesterol while the same-size serving of chicken (white meat, skinned) also has 8.5 mg. of cholesterol (ibid.).

The same-size servings of pork, trout, and turkey—will clog your arteries with 90, 73, and 82 mg. of cholesterol, respectively. There are no low-cholesterol flesh foods, and there are no plant foods with any cholesterol (ibid.).

Here is more about chickens:

More than 90% of the chickens in America are raised on factory farms (Jim Mason, "Fowling the Waters," E: The Environmental Magazine, September/October 1995). A significant part of their diet is their own fecal matter. So it should not be surprising that a recent Agriculture Department study revealed that more than 99% of broiler carcasses had detectable levels of E. coli ("Safe Food? Not Yet," New York Times, January 30, 1997).

In addition, about 30% of chicken consumed in the U.S. is contaminated with salmonella ("Playing Chicken: The Human Cost of Inadequate Regulation of the Poultry Industry," Center for Science in the Public Interest, March 1996) and 70%-90% with another deadly pathogen, campylobacter ("Health Concerns Mounting over Bacteria in Chickens," New York Times, October 20, 1997).

Although not well-known, here is what campylobacter brings with it: cramps, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, and 200-800 deaths per year in America alone (ibid.). It also induces about 2,000 cases a year of an unusual paralytic disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, whose victims are usually required to stay for weeks in the intensive-care unit, hooked up to a respirator (ibid.). The bacterium has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The reason is that the same drugs have been used to fight disease in chickens.

According to the Government Accountability Project (an independent organization), up to 25% of the chickens on the inspection line are covered with feces, bile, and feed. Chickens are often soaked in chlorine baths to remove slime and odor (Government Accountability Project, "Fighting Filth on the Kill Floor: A Matter of Life or Death for America’s Families," November 9, 1995).

In order to safeguard your health, chicken inspectors examine about 12,000 chickens a day, each for about 2 seconds (Food and Agricultural Issues, General Accounting Office, March 16, 1993). As a result, contaminated chickens kill at least 1,000 Americans a year. It is estimated that they sicken as many as 80 million more ("Something Smells Fowl," Time, October 17, 1994).

More about fish:

Fish are generally not inspected; it is assumed that they are clean, regardless of the waters they come from.

But an in-depth 1992 Consumer Reports study, on the safety of the fish Americans eat, found nearly half the tested fish were contaminated by bacteria from human or animal feces. It was in the water the fish were caught in ("Is Our Fish Fit to Eat?" Consumer Reports Special Study, February 1992). A lot of people now live along our rivers, by our lakes, and along our coasts.

According to a government report, there are 35,000 cases of food poisoning annually in the U.S. from contaminated seafood (CDC Report, quoted in "What’s Wrong with Fish?" Vegetarian Times, August 1995).

Fish begin to spoil when there are 1-10 million colonies of bacteria growing, per gram. Sampling fish from markets in the New York, Chicago, and Santa Cruz/San Jose areas, Consumer Reports found almost 40% of the fish tested in the beginning to spoil range, and an additional 25% with bacterial counts that "exceeded the upper limits of our test method." That meant they had more than 27 million colonies of bacteria, per gram (Consumer Reports Special Study, February 1992).

Fish that reach your dinner table have often been dead for two weeks or more, and the bacteria living on them are not disturbed by refrigeration units. Thawed fish are often labeled "fresh" (ibid.).

Health-minded people eat fish because they are considered cleaner and contain omega-3 fatty acid. But that valuable nutrient can just as easily be obtained by eating soybeans, pumpkin and flax seeds, dark green vegetables, and wheat germ.

But fish have high cholesterol and a wide assortment of mercury; lead; pesticides; and the deadly chemical compound, PCBs—something the above vegetables lack.

Municipal wastes and agricultural chemicals are continually flushed into local waters, and carried into rivers and to the ocean. They are absorbed in the tissues of fish and shellfish.

The Consumer Reports study found PCBs in 43% of salmon and 25% of swordfish (ibid.). Yet both are often caught far out in the ocean. Catfish had significant levels of DDT, clams had high levels of lead, and 90% of swordfish contained mercury (New England Journal of Medicine, September 12, 1996).

Women who ate fish from Lake Michigan, containing PCBs, gave birth to smaller children with significant developmental problems.



It has been increasingly suspected that many Alzheimer’s cases are actually CJD (the human form of mad cow disease). In this article, Joel Bleifuss reports that pigs are believed to be a significant cause of mad cow disease. You are going to read about breakthrough research into a serious aspect of the BSE problem in America. A link between BSE and eating clams and oysters is also shown.

This article first appeared in These Times, a Chicago-based paper, April 26, 1997.

"Porcine" means relating to pigs, and comes from the Latin: "porcus" for pig. Our English word, "pork," is derived from it.

"TSE" stands for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. This came into usage in the 1990s, and means BSE or CJD which can be passed from one animal/person to another. Here is the article:

"Some pigs in the United States may be infected with a porcine form of mad cow disease, according to an alarming study by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists that has recently come to light.

"This previously unrecognized form of the disease in swine may be infecting humans, according to epidemiological studies that link pork consumption with mad cow’s human equivalent, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

"In late 1978, Dr. Masuo Doi, a veterinarian with the Food Safety and Quality Service, observed signs of a mysterious central nervous system (CNS) disorder in some young hogs that had arrived at the Tobin Packing Plant in Albany, N.Y., from several Midwestern states.

"For the next 15 months, Doi studied 106 of the afflicted pigs. He described their symptoms this way: ‘Excitable or nervous temperament to external stimuli such as touch to the skin. Handling and menacing approach to the animals is a common characteristic sign among those affected with the disease.’ These symptoms, Doi now notes, are strikingly similar to those of British cattle infected with mad cow disease, which is scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

"Doi sent the brain material from these pigs to Karl Langheinrich, the head pathologist at the USDA’s Eastern Laboratory in Athens, Ga. In a November 1979 report, Langheinrich noted that one pig’s brain exhibited what the veterinary reference work, Pathology of Domestic Animals, defined as ‘the classical hallmarks of viral infection of the central nervous system.’ Langheinrich went on to report that the damage in the pig’s brain was similar to the damage observed in the brains of sheep afflicted with scrapie and of mink afflicted with transmissible mink encephalopathy, the two other variants of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) known at the time.

"In March of this year, Dr. William Hadlow, a retired veterinary pathologist who is one of the world’s leading TSE researchers, examined the microscope slides of pig brain from Doi and Langheinrich’s 1979 investigation. The pig ‘could have suffered from a scrapie-like disease,’ he reports, but adds that such a conclusion cannot be ‘justified by the limited microscopic findings, however suggestive of a TSE they may be.’

"The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Washington-based organization that supports public-sector whistle-blowers, has been working with Doi to alert the public that a porcine form of mad cow disease may be circulating in the American pig population. In a March 27 letter to Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, GAP points out that if we assume a similar incidence of central nervous system disorders in swine being slaughtered nationwide as that found among swine at the Tobin Packing Plant, ‘it is reasonable to question whether, since at least 1979, the USDA has been allowing 99.5 percent of animals with encephalitis, meningitis, and other CNS disorders into the human food supply.’

"And what happens once those thousands of diseased pigs are eaten by the American public? Two epidemiological studies found pork to be a dietary risk factor in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). A 1973 study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, discovered that 14 of 38 CJD patients (36 percent) ate brains. Further, of those who ate brains, most (10 of the 14) preferred hog brains.

"Another study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, in 1989, looked at how frequently 26 CJD patients ate 45 separate food items. Nine of these foods were found to be statistically linked to increased risk of CJD. Of those nine, six came from pigs—roast pork, ham, hot dogs, pork chops, smoked pork and scrapie. (The three that were not pig-derived were roast lamb, raw oysters/clams and liver.)"

The authors of the study concluded: "The present study indicated that consumption of pork as well as its processed products (e.g. ham, scrapie) may be considered as risk factors in the development of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. While scrapie has not been reported in pigs, a subclinical form of the disease or a pig reservoir for the scrapie might conceivably exist.

"The number of Americans who develop CJD in a given year is in dispute. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims that the human form of mad cow disease occurs at a rate of one in a million. Further, ignoring evidence of a new variant of CJD found in Britain, the CDC maintains that people who eat an infected animal cannot contract the disease. In January, CDC Assistant Director for Public Health Lawrence Schonberger told a Congressional hearing, ‘The bottom line from our perspective is that it’s a theoretical risk . . but it is not as yet a real risk.’

"But does the CDC really know how many Americans contract CJD? Evidence indicates that CJD may often be misdiagnosed, and thus go unreported. A 1989 study at the University of Pittsburgh autopsied the brains of 54 patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and discovered that three of the patients (5.5 percent of the sample) actually had CJD. A 1989 study at Yale University reported similar findings.

"Postmortem examination of 46 patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s revealed that six (13 percent of the sample) actually had CJD. The New York-based Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, argued in a paper presented to the USDA, ‘Since there are over 4 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease currently in the United States, if even a small percentage of them turned out to be CJD, there could be a hidden CJD epidemic.’

"Which brings us to the issue of what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing to address this food-borne threat to public health. In the past several months, in response to questions about Doi’s 1979 pig research, USDA officials have put out a good deal of misinformation to public-interest groups, the media and even the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. On repeated occasions, officials have said that the slides of the pig brains from the 1979 study were unavailable because they had been sent to scientists in England who were studying mad cow disease. But as it turns out, the USDA never sent any slides to England.

" ‘Agency officials repeatedly misrepresented scientists’ investigations and conclusions to consumer groups and government employees and neglected to keep other agencies also working on TSE issues informed,’ says Felicia Nestor of GAP. ‘The USDA had to be pushed to investigate scientific evidence which only they had.’

"The USDA’s lackluster response to this public health threat comes as no surprise. For years, the agency has done its best to ignore evidence that a distinct American strain of mad cow disease may already afflict the U.S. cattle population. Veterinary researchers in Mission, Texas in 1979 and Ames, Iowa, in 1992 found that cattle injected with brain matter from scrapie-infected American sheep developed BSE. However the brains of these infected cattle did not exhibit the same spongy holes found in the brains of their BSE-plagued British cousins; yet it is still a spongiform disease. Furthermore, cows afflicted with this American strain of scrapie-induced BSE do not go mad; they simply collapse and die.

"The distinction is important because the American strain of the disease leads to symptoms that resemble what happens to the 100,000 American cattle that succumb to ‘downer cow syndrome’ every year.

"Veterinary researchers fear that the widespread practice of feeding downer cows (in the form of rendered protein feed supplements) to other cattle, sheep and hogs could already be fueling a TSE epidemic in the United States like the one that plagued Britain. In fact, in 1979, before BSE was discovered in Britain, Doi pointed out in his study of deranged pigs that many animals have been found to be ‘downers’ at first observation.

"On January 3 [1997], the FDA finally drafted a rule that would ban the fortifying of animal feeds with ‘any Mammalian tissue.’ USDA researchers, critical of the government’s foot dragging, have been calling for a ban for seven years. But undercutting this important step, the FDA has played a taxonomical shell game and arbitrarily removed pigs from the class ‘mammalia.’ [According to the U.S. Government, pigs are not mammals!]

"Consequently, if the FDA’s proposed rule is adopted, animals being fattened for slaughter will stop eating cow renderings and instead eat only pig remains. Since mad cow disease in Britain was spread by feeding mad cows to healthy cows, the FDA’s pigs-are-not-mammals proposal gives any porcine form of mad cow disease a point of entry into the human food chain.

"On April 28, Consumers Union filed comments with the FDA on the agency’s proposed regulations. The group advocates a complete ban on the use of all mammalian protein in all feed intended for feed animals, as is now the case in England. [That means Britain now has a stricter feed ban than the U.S. does!] ‘The draft rule,’ says Consumers Union, ‘is not adequate to protect public health, because it would continue to leave the door open for a porcine TSE to contaminate pork and other meat.’

"It would be nice if the USDA were as concerned about protecting public health as it is about the financial health of the $30 billion-a-year pork industry and the $60 billion-a-year beef industry. Ditto for the Wall Street Journal, where editors have put on hold a story by a staff reporter on mad pig disease and the possible link between pork consumption and CJD.

"ABC’s World News Tonight has also sat on the information for a couple of weeks. On May 12, the network did air a story that examined the fact that CJD was being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s. But the network failed to note that CJD is the human form of mad cow disease. The network also neglected to mention the possible connection to pork or the fact that the CJD patient featured in the story, Marie Ferris, had been employed at a packing plant where she handled slaughtered pigs."—These Times, a Chicago-based paper, April 26, 1997.