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Sane Choices in a World of Mad Meat


by Steve Warrington
CEO - Ostriches On Line

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 particular.
 
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 other animals.

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.
 
Why?
 
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 animals.
 
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 OPP's.
 
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? steve@ostrichesonline.com       

For more information on Ostriches On Line, contact:
 
Ostriches On Line
2218 N 75th Ave 
Elmwood Park, IL  USA  60707

Tel +1 708 452 7596  
Fax +1 708 452 7510
email ostrich@ostrichesonline.com

or visit online at http://www.ostrichesonline.com    

 

 

        Emu's Zine does not diagnose, prescribe or dispense medical advice.  We report and attempt to educate the public about the possible health benefits derived through the use of emu oil based products and consumption of low cholesterol, low fat emu meat.   This site contains personal testimonies and professional observations.   We encourage people to contact their family physicians regarding any health problems they may have for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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