How now, mad cow? The

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:46 am

How now, mad cow? The end is upon us, states this article, caused by the world-wide spread of prions. Vegan scare tactic or portent of things to come?

At first, the disease seemed kind of fun. Imagine Cruetzfeldt and Jacob coming upon this native, laughing himself to death with kuru, (the Papuan name for it) then embarking for Europe, with the laughing man’s pickled brain in a jar. Seeing no germs in any lens of the period, they threw this spongy cauliflower into their little British garden. A trillion prions abated into the ground, waiting for some low-grazing animal to come munching toward them, and along came the family pet, Wooly the Ram. Bingo! It’s Mega-death starring The Cannibal Bug opening at the Palladium. That might well have been the scenario for, after New Guinea, the disease’s next official appearance involved a big, geographic leap. In the 70’s, it appeared in the sheep herds of Britain. British sheepherders, with Celtic poesy, called the penchant “scrapie” after the sick sheep’s habit of rubbing up against things. As breeders traded sheep like baseball cards, scrapie moved to sheep herds in America which in 1970 had an epizootic amount of laughy, rubbing sheep. For a while farmers wondered if their teen-aged kids had dosed herds with some of those new-fangled, hippie drugs. Rams and ewes who had never met a cannibal started exhibiting an odd, itch to scrape their heads and hides against fences, even if the fences were barbed wire. No one suspected that scrapie was just that old Papuan wolf hiding in sheep’s clothing. It was beyond imagination that a cannibal infection on one, isolated continent could leap to food chain-animals on another continent…

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    Comment by Melissa — 2/19/2003 @ 12:26 pm

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