As Wisconsin and other states face a growing epidemic of Chronic Wasting Disease, also dubbed the 'mad deer' epidemic, many outdoor writers, veterinarians and wildlife biologists are stumbling badly, dishing out inaccurate and potentially deadly human health advice regarding the risks of eating animals infected with this mad cow-like Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). In the St.
Mad Cow Disease
As we report in our book Mad Cow USA (available on this website as a free PDF download), the British and US governments' mishandling of the threat of mad cow-type diseases is a case study in how "PR crisis management" protects industry at the expense of human and environmental health.
Rick Berman, the tobacco lobbyist who runs Consumer Freedom.com (which he started with $900,000 from Philip Morris) condemns us for "fearmongering" about the dangers of mad cow-type diseases in the US. Berman uses a combination of false claims and misinformation to smear us and our 1997 book Mad Cow USA. Berman's operation is funded by food and booze interests such as Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company and the largest food conglomerate in the US.
Two young Michigan men have died from a mad cow-type disease called "sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)." The men did not die of actual British mad cow disease, called new variant CJD or vCJD in humans. No one knows what caused their sporadic CJD, but the odds of two young men dying at the same time in the same hospital are astronomical. The human victims of British mad cow disease are also typically young.
Lester Crawford, acting director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told the Associated Press "we should probably try to eradicate (Chronic Wasting Disease in deer). There's no reason you couldn't stop it. It's not something you want in the livestock herds." Tough talk, but don't expect much action. Crawford supposedly is well-informed on mad cow-type diseases, but his statements ring hollow and provide no specifics.
The US government says that a 22 year old British woman living in Florida is apparently dying of British mad cow disease. Over one hundred Brits have now died of the disease and the death toll is doubling every three years. The Associated Press quotes US officials assuring the public that "all evidence indicates her illness poses no threat to anyone else or the agriculture industry." However, the US government is failing to adequately address the British mad cow threat as well as the threat of other mad cow-type diseases in the US.
The outbreak of what has been dubbed 'mad deer disease' in Wisconsin is gathering national media attention from Business Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Most articles downplay human health risks. Given the long invisible latency of such diseases in humans, it might not be proven for decades whether or not people can die from handling or eating infected deer. Dr.
The shocking news that the deer and elk version of mad cow disease, called chronic wasting disease (CWD), is present in Wisconsin's wild white tail deer has meant business is busier than ever for a Montana PR firm. The Kriegel Group represents the North American Elk Breeders Association. The trafficking in farmed elk and deer has spread CWD to a number of states and Canada, and it has spread from farmed animals into wild herds. Wisconsin has hundreds of elk and deer farms, and they are the chief suspects in the spread of CWD to the wild.
In December of 2000, journalist Hal Herring revealed in High Country News that "the sale of velvet antler from domestic elk in North America is estimated by its proponents to be a $3 billion industry. Korea is still the primary destination for most velvet products, but promoters have created a demand in the U.S. alternative medicine and nutritional supplement market." This lucrative business of grinding up elk antlers and selling them as nutritional supplements amounts to a world-wide uncontrolled experiment in transmitting CWD (also called 'mad deer' or 'mad elk' disease) to humans.
The shocking news that the US epidemic of 'mad deer' disease has jumped from the West to the Midwest and into the huge white tailed deer population in Wisconsin has all players scrambling and pointing fingers. States that depend on money from big game licenses are assuring the public that chronic wasting disease (CWD) cannot infect and kill humans, although there is no proof for that claim and some evidence to the contrary.