Mad Cows and Mad FarmersBy Dr. K. Shane Neifert
In a recent article I wrote of how agriculture transformed from organic to chemically based industry. As that occurred we found ourselves surrounded by industries and farmers that bought into the idea that chemicals could solve all of our problems. We have learned that it is not always good to douse ourselves or ingest chemicals due to the possible negative side effects we may acquire over time. DDT an organophosphate (OP) did not help our environment even if it did kill a bunch of bugs. What we have discovered is that bugs serve a purpose in our circle of life.
As we use more chemicals, the function of all living things in our environment is effected negatively. The higher up the food chain we are the more the chemicals are concentrated in our food supply and in turn in us. We are at the top. Therefore the more chemicals we use in our environment the more we poison ourselves. It is that simple.
In England in the 1980′s some of the local cattle farmers had a problem with whipple fly infestation. What their government recommended was the use of an OP directly on the cattle, applied to their backs in an attempt to stop the bugs from afflicting their cattle. Soon after the farmers began this program of chemical usage several things began to occur. The cattle became ill with some rare form of neurological disorder referred to as BSE or Mad Cow and some of the farmers who administered the poison contracted a Parkinson’s like syndrome. Recently an organic cattle farmer noticed that only farmers and cattle with OPs usage came down with the nervous “diseases”. The feed they both used was the same and yet neither Mad Cow nor Parkinson’s like illnesses have affected any organic cows or their farmers. Countries using the same feed did not have the incidence that England had. The other countries also didn’t have a whipple fly problem that was resolved with a really potent pesticide that causes nerve disorders.
There is a connection between Mad Cow and “Scrapie”-a sheep nerve disease. The initial investigation found that infected sheep were killed and processed into feed. That feed was given to cattle and researchers felt this developed a similar cross over disease (BSE) called Mad Cow. Researchers initially blamed minute organisms called prions as the form of infection. Yet there are inconsistencies that point in another direction. What about the rest of the continent of Europe? Why aren’t there more cases of Mad Cow if they had the same feed? What about those sheep? Why did they get sick anyway? Could it be connected to the OP compound used to dip them in to prevent tick infestation? Maybe so. OPs act as a toxin to kill the pests. It attacks their nerve system and they die. It is interesting to note that the cattle areas affected by the Mad Cow are the exact same ones that had the whipple fly problem. Add to that the OPs from the Scrapie sheep in the cattle feed and you have an even higher concentration of poison in the cattle.
There are other evidences of poisoning in England. Some farms had carrots that had 25 times the allowed amounts of OPs in them. Up to 8% of the carrots in some counties had an unacceptable level of OP contamination which if consumed by anything living will in turn build up OPs in their systems. Between the animals and plants that are being prayed with OPs the amount of toxins making their way into our bodies is very unsettling. Make a note to eat organic!
The government of Britain may find themselves in trouble due to the fact that they initiated the compulsory use of OPs to the conventional farmers in the 80′s. Oops. The researchers paid by the government to find the problem really don’t want to implicate the OPs due the possible liability of their employer. Politicians are using the issue to rally their troops and gain power bases without really effecting positive changes in the underlying cause of the problem. The U.S. agricultural community could use this info for a huge wakeup call. Consumers in the US would do well to demand OP free food. You wouldn’t knowingly feed a nerve toxin to your kids would you? The original article may be found in the Acres U.S.A. April 2001 edition. Additional reading may be found in the Doctors for Disaster Newsletter Jan 2001.
Organic farming has many advantages for providing a healthy clean food supply for us. It will only grow as consumers demand more organically raised food. The prices for organic foods will come down, as there is larger demand and thus larger supply. Our health will improve as we clean up our food, farms, and environment. It will be a win win situation for all of us. History points to the use of organophosphates as a bad thing, yet we still use them. This may be due to the fact that many don’t know a better way or don’t remember the complications of DDT in the 60′s and 70′s. Education and research from truly independent sources will show a better way. Money and power corrupt the process of evaluating farming techniques. Historically we have learned that if an industry does it’s own research the results if negative are buried or twisted to show only the positive aspects of the study. If someone can be bribed or intimidated the results will be affected against the public good. Many corporations are motivated by profits not public health.