"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, September 05, 2005

India source of mad cow disease ?

In a report in the journal Lancet on Friday Sept. 2nd. , Professor Alan Colchester of the University of Kent in England and his daughter Nancy, of the University of Edinburgh, suggest mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD ))may have originated from animal feed contaminated with human remains washed ashore after being floated downriver in Indian funerals.

“Existing theories of the original causes of BSE, the bovine disease, we don’t find convincing,” the Colchester duo say. “We have identified the fact that a large amount of imported animal feeding material was brought into Britain during the period when BSE must first have occurred and the largest source coming to the UK was from the Indian subcontinent.” Colchester and his daughter say they doubt BSE resulted from scrapie because material infected with the disease has been fed to cattle for many decades without any sign of BSE arising.

They go on to suggest that it may have been caused by the tonnes of animal bones and other tissue imported from India for animal feed which also may have contained the remains of humans infected with CJD. Scrapie, BSE and CJD are all illnesses caused by brain proteins that transform themselves into infectious prion agents.

“BSE was acquired from a human prion disease, the route of infection was oral, through animal feed containing imported mammalian raw materials contaminated with human remains, and the origin was the Indian subcontinent, from which large amounts of mammalian material were imported during the relevant time period,” they say. “Human remains are known to be incorporated into meal made locally, and may still be entering exported material.”

Their controversial hypothesis is backed by a long list of references of evidence about the pollution of Ganges from human corpses; the inclusion of human remains in material used in processing mills, scavenged by local peasants to supplement their income; and statistics about the long history of these exports to Britain. In 10 years, more than a third of a million tonnes of material from these areas was imported into the UK,” Colchester said. The paper also points to established fears by the British authorities in the 1960s that these untreated exports could be infected with anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease (but not prion disease, of which there was no knowledge at the time).

Indian neurologists Susarla Shanka and P. Satishchandra of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, rebut the idea in another article in Lancet and say the Colchesters’ evidence is not a smoking gun. They note that incidence of prion disease is no higher in India than elsewhere and that no study has ever been done to established whether putrefied human tissue, taken from the Ganges, contains prion disease or if it could be transmissible.They say there is only one one case of scrapie, which was probably imported, which has been reported from the Himalayan foothills.

They call for extra work to substantiate the Colchesters’ theory, warning also that “scientists should proceed cautiously when hypothesising about a disease that has such wide geographic, cultural and religious implications.”

India, a desperately poor country has been exporting animal feed to the UK ? We should remember what The Rt. Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Minister of State for Health Her Majesty's Government said on 3rd December 1995 "There is no conceivable risk of BSE being transmitted from cows to people."

Meanwhile the US Government (USDA) closed its investigation into the nation's
first domestic case of mad cow disease on Tuesday, saying it could not pin down
how a Texas 12-year-old Brahma cross cow was infected with the brain-wasting ailment.

Officials continue to believe the cow ate contaminated feed before the United States banned ground-up cattle remains in cattle feed.

On June 9 2005 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a panel discussion led by the Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns. The discussion, titled, “The Safety of North American Beef and the Economic Effect of BSE on the U.S. Beef Industry,” was at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. The American Meat Institute was there (AMI) it is the major industry group, with it’s HQ in Washington DC, an area more used to pork barrels than sides of beef., unless presented as a succulent filet mignon.These groups represent “companies that process 70 percent of U.S. meat and poultry and their suppliers throughout America,” according to its website. Members include Tyson, Cargill, Hormel, Smithfield, Kraft, Sara Lee and other major players in the $78 billion beef industry.

Other participants at this brainstormer included the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Meat Association, Ranchers-Cattlemen’s Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmer’s Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Renderers Association, and of course the AMI. Not one health, consumer or animal welfare group was included.

The main success of these lobbyists is the stalling of the USDA proposed ban on recycled cow offal in animal feed.This it is claimed (although now standard in most of the world) would eliminate $72 million in annual income to the livestock industry, according to the AMI. To maintain the high-protein diet for cattle without the use of this waste would require “an additional 5 million bushels of soybeans or 140,000 acres of soybean production.” Even worse, the banned cattle tissues would then need to be disposed of, at an estimated cost of $55 million per year – and that’s assuming that “landfills will accept slaughter waste and adequate space is available.”

The main failure of this lobbying is that US beef is refused import licences almost worldwide and packing plants in the US are closing.

…Perhaps they should start looking for feed from India …?

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