Sunday, December 1


I don't usually post news reports relating to animal tests, given all the problems there are with that industry - both ethical and pragmatic - but I'll make an exception here because of the gravity of this news, and because it's centered on the animals themselves: It turns out that more people may have the human form of mad cow disease than previously thought - that is, people who have "ordinary" or "sporadic" CJD may be among those whose illness was caused by BSE. Previously only "new variant" CJD cases, which don't occur as frequently, were linked. The agent of this increase is sheep. And worse, a recent attempt to protect sheep from BSE failed miserably as a "resistant" sheep contracted mad cow disease in laboratory tests. The scientist who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for nailing down how prions work is now saying every person in Britain should be tested for CJD and every cow and sheep in the country should be tested for BSE, and stresses that "eating meat may still pose a serious health risk." These developments show how little we understand these diseases and how imperative it is that we eliminate their breeding grounds immediately, i.e. modern animal agriculture. Although that won't happen anytime soon, it may be hastened by more people wising up and staying away from sheep, beef and other likely agents for this deadly illness.

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