There has been a lot of fear driven fantasies put out by the media about terrorist attacks and their use of some pretty nasty stuff like nerve gas, dirty bombs, stolen Russian nuclear weapons, and of course, biological weapons. There are a lot of those, from simple to make ricin, to other stuff more complex like mutated flu viruses to anthrax to plague to some other really nasty things. There are a lot. They do make it a reality for Americans to fear the real possible threat of bioterrorism. We need to look around us also to discover what threats there are in our world that have the same potential to destroy human life that manufactured agents have yet are being created in wholesale quantities in our environment by industry. Specifically I'm talking about Mad Cow Disease and other PRION related maladies.
What's a prion? Most people have never heard of these tiny things. In all probability it's because no one wants us to know about them. The media (I won't go into how 6 major corporations own 99% of the general media in America, and also are big owners of agribusiness as well) don't like to do stories on prions, or Mad Cow Disease, or some of the related maladies that affect humans, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Syndrome, or Kuru, All human diseases that are caused by prions. Prions are little understood proteins that work within the cells, usually in the neuralnetwork and primarily the brain. A prion is not alive, it is neither bacteria, fungus or virus. They are protein chains that are bent. Almost in half. Sounds innocent enough, but those bent proteins enter neural cells and start a chain reaction bending other proteins, eventually leading to the cell failing to reproduce, to synthesize correct proteins, and then cellular death. And when that happens, the bent proteins go out into the surrounding cells and the disease spreads. Victims of any prion disease have a 100% fatality rate. There is no cure, they all die.
Here is where it gets tricky. The CDC states that it is possible that the incubation period for prion type diseases may be as long as 10 years in humans, and that there may be Alzheimer like symptoms for several years before it degenerates into full out CJD or GSSS. At this time, they are uncertain of any links between the huge numbers of Alzheimer patients and the rise of prion type diseases. And the big one, that pretty much anyone that is exposed to prions, via through contact with blood, or bodily fluids of infected persons with any prion type disease will in all probability contract one of the diseases. Even eating animal flesh that is infected gives you an extremely high probability that you will ingest the prions, and they will infected you. Prions are not destroyed by cooking, sterilizing with any disinfectant, or heating in an autoclave. There are recorded instances of people having had neurosurgery and the instruments were disinfected, then sterilized, and used on another patient with the new patient contracting a prion type disease. Read the second paragraph under the heading history here about it (CJD transmission) It is estimated that 1 in 2,000 people in the United Kingdom is infected with prions because of the incidence of BSE (mad cow disease).
Now, this is where it gets scary. Remember that I try to tell my readers about modern meat and how bad it is for humans. It isn't just me being paranoid. The USDA has this rule about steers. They have declared that the head and spinal bones are not to be used for human consumption if the steer is over 30 months old. This is supposed to stop the spread of prions that might be in any steer, to humans. Those bones are not thrown away, they have two very big markets. One is for the making of gelatin, for Jello. And the other is to make chicken feed. They are ground up and feed to chickens. Now we come to the weird part, that chicken feed that drops to the chicken coops in large scale chicken CAFO's is routinely swept up, and whatever is in it, dead rodents, uneaten food (prion infected steer bone meal) dead chickens, feathers and whatever is then ground up and fed to steers in steer CAFO's. Because it's cheap. It also contains large amounts of arsenic, antibiotics, and again, uneaten food that is mainly genetically modified corn, soy, and canola meal. If you read my blog at all, you know I don't like canola. It by definition contains a toxic substance, erucic acid. It is by law limited to 2% by weight. Erucic acid is a cumulative toxin that builds up in an animal's liver, kidneys and, yep, brain. And contrary to what Snopes.com or the Canola Council of Canada say on their websites, canola is a toxin. The very definition of the product, -Can Contain up to 2% Erucic Acid by volume- indicates it contains a cumulative neuro-toxin.
Today, there are over 6 million people with diagnosed Alzheimer's. USDA rules to stop the spread of prions are lacking in any substance and do nothing to stop the spread of prions in the supply of modern meat through the CAFO model of raising steers. At this time it is not known the extent, and I admit there may not be a problem, of just how infected our modern meat and meat products are. And I'm pretty sure that no one wants to test it to find out. It just might cause a collapse of the entire system.
Pastured grass fed beef is more expensive. But what is your life really valued at? Or you can be like me, go vegetarian, and never eat Jello either. It just might contain prions. So back to the beginning of this essay, would destroying a population with an insidious long term disease that takes huge amounts of resources be the ultimate terrorist program to destroy this country. Well, I think it is happening daily, every burger you eat just might be your downfall, and you won't know for years and years.