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Score one for the vegans

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
March 20, 2001


As someone who gave up eating farm animals years ago, the news coming from Europe is far from surprising. Having grown accustomed to the hand wringing associated over Mad Cow disease, the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease seems like a natural progression. After all what do you expect from animals forced to live in crowded, substandard conditions.

Mad Cow disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is an analog to mad people disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which literally eats holes in the brains of its victims.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly infectious disease that can spread by direct or indirect contact with infected animals. Infected animals begin by excreting the virus a few days before signs of the disease develop, with vesicles or blisters in the mouth or on the feet. Affected animals lose condition and secondary bacterial infections may prolong convalescence.

The most serious effects of the disease however are seen in dairy cattle. Loss of milk yield, abortion, sterility, chronic mastitis, and chronic lameness are commonplace. FMD has no implications for the human food chain.

Endemic in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America there is no cure for this disease. Although. It usually runs its course in 2 or 3 weeks after which the great majority of animals recover naturally. The justification of the slaughter policy is that widespread disease throughout the country would be economically disastrous.

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