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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
April 8, 2001

UK's Foot & Mouth Disease

More Bureaucracy and 'Science' Out Of Control?

The following comments are from a communication sent by Steve Ransom of Credence Publications in the UK, with respect to the current hysteria over there and in Europe on the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (Hoof & Mouth in the U.S.). I thought I'd post it because there always seems to be another side to any story that the mass media blare these days.

International television and radio news bulletins have brought world audiences graphic reports of an encroaching pestilence. The dreaded and highly infectious . . . FMD has returned to British shores. The globe is being treated to round the clock reports on the nightmare. Mounds of destroyed cattle, gruesome pyres burning through the night, ashen-faced reporters delivering the latest statistics, people being warned to stay away from the countryside.

Despite the governmental pronouncements, the facts surrounding this "crisis" are very different to what we have so far been told. Abigail Wood is a vet and researcher into the history of FMD, based at the University of Manchester in the UK. She remains very down to earth over these . . . reports. [Her recent UK Times article] began: Foot and mouth is as serious to animals as a bad cold is to human beings. So why the concern?

The current wisdom theorises that FMD is viral in nature. Symptoms begin usually with a temperature, followed within 24 hours by the appearance of blisters and ulcerations on places such as the tongue, lips, gums, dental pad, interdigital skin of the feet, bulbs of the heels and milk teats. . . . the equivalent of large cold sores. . . . Afflicted animals almost always recover, usually within a week or two. Death occurs in only 5 percent of cases.

Until almost the end of the 19th century, FMD was common across the UK. . . . But it did not destroy farming. Our cattle became ill. and then they recovered. So why today's scenes of mass destruction? [S]imply, it is because we are continuing to adhere to some woefully errant farming policy instituted nearly 100 years ago . . . It is entrenched scientific error, and intractable pride on behalf of the UK agricultural and governmental bodies, that is the killer in our midst.

A spokesperson from the diagnostic department of Animal Health Trust, who wished not to be named, stated, "The hype is all out of proportion. If the authorities just left the animals alone to recover from FMD, this would make them healthy, and immune the next time around."

Like so many other viruses in the multi-billion dollar virus industry, we have only innumerable artists' impressions to go by. And at the foot of this page, you will see the link taking you to evidence showing that foot and mouth is an environmental condition, unrelated to any infectious virus, airborne or otherwise.

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