Responding to the recent news on Mad Cow disease (BSE), Minnesota COACT (Citizens Organized ACting Together) reaffirms support of its 2,000 farmer members and reassures its 12,000 consumer members that livestock raised in a natural environment and fed their natural diet is safe and wholesome to eat. We support producers who raise beef, poultry and pork outside the feedlot environment. We do not support feeding rendered animal meat, bones, fat, poultry manure or a diet with antibiotics or growth hormones to ruminant animals; their natural diet is a diversity of forages including grasses and woody plants.
Shoppers should always ask: Who raised this meat, how was it fed, and under what conditions was it processed? BSE is not found in herds where the operators focus on balancing the nutrients in the soil and do not use synthetic pesticides. Furthermore, these independent family producers usually have their meat processed at local independent facilities that have a clean and safe work environment.
Regarding nutrient balance in the soil, there is solid evidence that BSE occurs only under certain conditions which include a diet low in copper, high in manganese and the use of Organophosphate Pesticides. In an article published in the prestigious Journal of Cattle Practise (Journal of the British Cattle Veterinary Association) 2002, Vol 10, Part 4, p 311-335, Mark Purdey shows with science the true origins of BSE. This research also indicates that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in people can occur under similar circumstances. The same organophosphate pesticides used on cattle are used in some products to kill head lice and in the pesticide Maneb which also contains manganese.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) news release published on Medline December 28, 2003 states, “Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) can be caused by eating beef contaminated with mad cow disease, but the critics assert without a better tracking system it might be impossible to determine whether any CJD cases are due to mad cow or obtain an accurate picture of the prevalence of the disorder in the United States.”
We contend that the issue of disease transmission must be answered. The allegation that BSE spreads to other animals and humans has not been satisfactorily established. BSE fails to fulfill what is known as “Koch’s postulates”–the yardstick for gauging whether a given disease stems from infectious origins. Briefly, they are (1) the causal agent is found in all symptomatic animals; (2) the causal agent is not found with other diseases; and (3) the causal agent can be isolated and cultured, then reproduced in a susceptible host.
At post mortem, not all of the cattle slaughtered for displaying the classic symptoms of BSE show the presence of the BSE prions. A BSE prion is a protein particle that does not contain DNA or RNA. We see clusters of CJD (the human version of the disease) in areas of the world that are BSE-free. BSE has failed to surface in the cattle populations of the Middle East, India, Africa, Third World countries, etc., despite these countries receiving substantial tonnages of the BSE incriminated meat and bone meal imported from Great Britain. Several US trials failed to induce BSE in cattle after feeding or injecting massive doses of scrapie-contaminated brain homogenate.
According to their web site, Prionics AG of Switzerland developed a test in 1996 for the BSE prion which shows its presence within hours. In Europe, one out of every four beef slaughtered are tested for the BSE prion while only 20,000 out of the 35,000,000 cattle processed in the United States are tested. The Mad Cow found in the US was one of hundreds of thousands of ‘spent’ dairy cows from confinement dairy facilities where the use of the genetically engineered hormone, rBGH is commonplace. These cows are sent to butcher because they are unable to reproduce; frequently they are ‘downers,’ unable to walk. Spent cows exhibit gait symptoms similar to BSE because the use of rBGH to produce higher amounts of milk drastically alters their system.
COACT President June Varner states, “I am very confident when I buy Minnesota meat and will continue to do so. However, I know where my meat comes from and I know it is produced in a manner that is safe.” MN COACT is developing a list of groups and producers who raise meat and other farm products in a manner that will reduce consumers’ exposure to problems with their food supply.
MINNESOTA COACT ANNOUNCEMENT
2469 University Ave. St. Paul, MN 55114 www.coact.org
CONTACT PERSON: June Varner, President, (320) 584-5165
For more information contact MN COACT at (651) 646-0900 or issues (at) coact.org