From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1994:

British link veal and brain damage
Rejected by most veterinary authorities, the hypothesis
advanced by Cornell veterinary student Michael Greger via Farm
Sanctuary that there may be a link between bovine spongiform
encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease gained slightly
more weight on October 7 when the United Kingdom CJD
Surveillance Unit reported that, “A study of the eating habits of
people with CJD showed some statistical associations with the eat-
ing of various meat products, particularly veal.” Veal calves are
fed milk replacers which contain processed slaughterhouse offal,
and therefore could sometimes contain the remains of animals who
had either BSE or scrapie, a similar disease found in sheep. CJD
appears some years after infection, and like BSE, leads to paraly-
sis, blindness, dementia, and death. An ongoing BSE epidemic,
now waning, has hit more than 130,000 cattle in Britain since
1986. CJD is comparatively rare, killing 40-50 Britons a year.

A previous U.K. CJD Surveillance Unit survey found a
statistical link between CJD and eating blood pudding. However,
the researchers stressed, “No causal link has been found. “The
findings on veal in this year’s report should be seen in this context.
It does, however, appear worth further investigation.”
“In the absence of scientific data to analyze, it appears
we are dealing with an extremely rare disease only remotely linked
with meat consumption,” opined American Veterinary Medical
Association assistant director of scientific activities John Boyce,
DVM, who earlier provided an extensive critique of the Greger
theory, summarized in the June 1994 ANIMAL PEOPLE.
“I guess I stand by my earlier ‘bears watching’ observa-
tion,” added Franklin Loew, DVM, dean of the Tufts University
School of Veterinary Medicine. “These preliminary reports should
be vigorously followed up, but there’s certainly nothing close to
Animal health notes
Proteus International, a British pharmaceutical
design firm, announced October 3 that it has pantented a vaccine
that stops sperm production in cats and can be used as an injectable
sterilant. “It also shrinks the testicles,” the company said, “but
arguably it is better to have shrunken testicles than no testicles at
all.” Proteus is now doing further testing to see how long the vac-
cine lasts, whether its effects can be reversed, and whether the
same technology can be used to castrate dogs, pigs, and cattle.
Melody Roelke-Parker, formerly chief veterinarian for
the Florida panther species recovery project, recently became the
first wildlife veterinarian stationed in Tanzania in over 20 years;
her husband Steve is building the nation’s first veterinary laborato-
ry. The Messerli Foundation, of Switzerland, is funding them in
a four-year effort to half the spread of distemper among the lions of
the Serengeti plains. The disease has already killed a third of the
lion population.
A strain of hoof-and-mouth disease carried by Cape
buffalo has broken out in the Caprivi region of Namibia, near the
Chobe game reserve of Botswana. The strain previously appeared
in Zimbabwe.
Before adjourning for the fall elections, Congress
amended the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to allow veterinarians
to “extra-label,” or use drugs on species for which they have not
been expressly approved. Former American Veterinary Medical
Association president Samuel Strahm, DVM, sought the amend-
ment for five years because pharmaceutical manufacturers, to cut
costs, frequently don’t apply for approval to sell drugs for use on
any but the most common animals.
An unidentified contagious disease in late September
killed at least 20 of the 800 goats the city of Laguna Beach,
California, has employed for the past year––at cost of $1
million––to clear firebreaks, in lieu of using herbicides.
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