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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:36 pm 
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Please feel free to add your own opinions and facts on how the "Mad Cow" scare, as well as other media and research facts and opinions related to E.Coli, Salmonella, Anthrax, etc. and how it effects sustainable farming in the area of good composting practices.

We need to encourage all novice and experienced master gardeners from all backgrounds about the safety and health of sustainable farming, and the natural fertilization and soil amendments that we use in our methods.

Please comment on the use of blood or bone meals, which are made from composted bovine parts.

Thank you so much.
Happy Gardening!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:26 pm 
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captain,i currently have a small experimental batch of compost going with both blood & bonemeal as well as several types of manure,wheat straw,legumes & soil.i suppose i'm going out on a limb by saying this but i'm not concerned as long as it's fully composted.i've seen a lot worse turn into wonderful dark compost.by no means an expert but still tryin'.have you ever tried composting under black plastic?i picked up a 17'x18' pond liner to cover a pile,mainly to keep off all the rain we've been getting,curious to see how it turns out.keep pressing on good captain...revg62

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 3:23 am 
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See if this works for you. The following was adapted from

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bs ... rview.html

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)

Overview

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BOW-vine SPONGE-uh-form en-SEP-uh-LAW-path-ee) (BSE), widely known as "mad cow disease," is a degenerative disease affecting the brain and spinal column of cattle. Worldwide there have been more than 180,000 cases since the disease was first diagnosed in 1986 in Great Britain. BSE has had a large impact on the livestock industry in the United Kingdom. The disease has also been found across Europe in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland as well as in Israel and Japan. However, world wide, over 95% of all BSE cases have occurred in the United Kingdom. BSE is not known to exist in the United States.

BSE belongs to the family of diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE's). These diseases are caused by an unknown agent. They share the following common characteristics

a. a prolonged incubation period of months or years;
b. Progressive mental deterioration leading to death.
c. Under a microscope, the BSE affected brain tissue looks like a sheep disease called scrapie;
d. The only affected organs are the brain and spinal column nervous system;
e. The animal’s immune system is not triggered by the infection.

Similar Diseases of Humans and Other Animals

TSE's are all caused by similar but unknown agents acting only in the brain. TSE's include scrapie (which affects sheep and goats), transmissible mink encephalopathy, feline spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease of deer and elk, and in humans, kuru, Classical Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), Gerstmann- Straussler syndrome, fatal familial insomnia, and vCJD.

Clinical Signs of BSE in Cattle

Affected animals may have “mood swings,” such as nervousness or aggression; abnormal posture; loss of coordination and difficulty in standing up; decreased milk production; or loss of muscle mass despite continued appetite. There is no treatment and affected cattle die.

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 8 years. Following the onset of clinical signs, the animal's condition deteriorates until it dies or is destroyed. This usually takes from 2 weeks to 6 months. Most cases in Great Britain have occurred in dairy cows between 3 and 6 years of age.

The Cause of BSE

The cause of BSE as well as other TSE's is yet to be completely understood. Three main theories on the nature of the agent have been proposed:

· An unconventional virus.
· A prion or abnormal protein, lacking nucleic acid, capable of causing normal prion protein in the host to change and form more abnormal protein.
· A virino or "incomplete" virus composed of naked nucleic acid protected by a host protein.

The BSE agent (1) is smaller than most virus particles and is highly resistant to heat, ultraviolet light, radiation, and common disinfectants that normally kill viruses or bacteria; (2) causes no immune response in the host; and (3) has not been observed under a microscope.

How BSE Is Diagnosed

There is no test to detect the disease in a live animal. Currently there are two laboratory methods to confirm a diagnosis of BSE: 1. Microscopic examination of the brain tissue to identify changes; 2. Techniques to detect the resistant form of the prion.

Can the USDA guarantee that BSE will never occur in the United States?

There are still a number of unknowns regarding the origin and transmission of BSE. Given these scientific uncertainties, we cannot assure zero risk from BSE. However, we can and will continue to monitor new scientific findings and world events and adjust our regulations and policies to keep the risk of BSE infecting the national herd as low as possible.

BSE Has NOT Been Found in the United States

No cases of BSE have been confirmed in the U.S.A. since we started testing for it in 1990.

What About Other Animal TSE's in the US?

These TSE's HAVE been found in the United States: Scrapie in sheep and goats, transmissible mink encephalopathy, and chronic wasting disease of deer and elk.

The Cause of BSE in Great Britain

The study of the epidemic suggests that BSE in Great Britain came from one common source involving animal feed containing contaminated meat and bone meal. The cause is suspected to be from either scrapie- affected sheep or cattle with a previously unidentified TSE. Changes in meat processing in the late 70's—early 1980's may have allowed the agent's survival in meat and bone meal.

For more information about BSE in the United Kingdom, please visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (formerly the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, UK) web site.

Countries Other Than the United Kingdom With Confirmed Cases of BSE

In native cattle: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland. While there is a decline in the number of cases of BSE in the United Kingdom, confirmed cases of BSE have risen in other European countries.

Oman, the Falkland Islands, Canada, and the Azores have detected BSE in cattle imports from other countries known to have BSE.

On May 20, 2003, Canada had a cow test positive for BSE. Previously, there had been one case of BSE in a single cow in Canada in 1993. It had been imported from Great Britain and was dealt with by destroying the affected cow and all its herdmates, as well as other cattle determined to be a risk by animal health officials in Canada.

For more information, please see Office International des Epizooties.

Transmission of BSE

There is no reason to think that BSE spreads by contact between unrelated adult cattle or from cattle to other species. There may be a low level of transmission from cow to calf. British research shows that approximately 9-percent of offspring from BSE-affected cows will carry the disease compared to calves born to cows without BSE. The study did not determine if this was the result of genetics or true transmission. The research did point out that at this level if maternal transmission does occur, it alone will not sustain the epidemic (Wilesmith et al. 1997).

A recently published study found no disease transmission to embryos collected from cows with BSE. (Wrethall et. al., 2001).

USDA Actions

What is the USDA policy in regard to BSE, and what actions has USDA taken?


The USDA policy has been to actively look for the disease and try to prevent it. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has taken measures in surveillance, prevention, education, and response. Import restrictions started in 1989, and surveillance began in 1990. The USDA continually monitors all events and research findings regarding TSE’s, as new information and knowledge may lead to changes in prevention measures. APHIS has also created a TSE Working Group to analyze risks of BSE to the United States, inform the public about the TSE's, and provide references for responding to questions about TSE's.

Is APHIS working with other agencies and groups to coordinate efforts?

Yes. APHIS has shared information and met with State and Federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and stakeholders to assure we are taking the proper actions in response to changing knowledge and information concerning BSE.

Is BSE a notifiable disease in the United States?

Yes. Veterinarians must report the disease and animals that appear to be mentally affected.

What types of BSE surveillance are we doing?

USDA-APHIS, in cooperation with USDA-FSIS and State diagnostic laboratories, has a surveillance program which targets the cattle population where the disease would most likely be found if it were to occur.

· APHIS educates veterinarians, laboratory diagnosticians, industry and producers on the signs of BSE.
· APHIS monitors the remaining cattle imported from countries known to have BSE or have high risk factors for BSE.
· Since 1990, more than 60 diagnostic laboratories across the United States and all the USDA's laboratories continue to examine hundreds of cattle brains each year submitted from cattle showing signs of the disease during or before processing. FSIS performs inspections at all USDA processing plants, and inspectors are alert for brain type disorders. Any brain affected animals are condemned and tested. Public health laboratories also submit samples that have tested negative for rabies.
· The network of private veterinarians that refers unusual cases to vet schools or State laboratories around the United States provides an extensive informal but important surveillance system.
· USDA has trained more than 250 State and Federal field veterinarians located throughout the United States in the recognition and diagnosis of foreign animal diseases, including BSE.
· Veterinary pathologists at zoos in the United States routinely conduct examinations on the brains of dead zoo animals exhibiting similar signs since similar diseases have been found in seven species of exotic cattle at zoos in England.

What type of adult cattle do we test?

1. Neurologically ill cattle found on farm
2. Neurologically ill cattle at veterinary labs or hospitals
3. Rabies-negative cattle
4. Cattle condemned at processing for neurologic disease
5. Cattle that cannot stand (downers/fallen stock)
6. Adult cattle dying on farms from an unknown cause

Has the United States imported cattle from the United Kingdom?

Yes. Between 1981 and 1989, 334 cattle were imported from the United Kingdom and 162 from the Republic of Ireland. These imports have been traced, and there are only 3 cattle still alive in the United States (as of November 2001). These animals have been quarantined since April 1996. APHIS is trying to buy these cattle for testing. In July 1989, the import of live cattle from the United Kingdom was banned.

In addition, 5 head of cattle imported from other countries in Europe in 1996 remain under quarantine. APHIS, in cooperation with the States and industry, continues to buy these animals for testing. No evidence of BSE has been found in any of these imported animals.

Does the United States still permit the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants?

No. On August 4, 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established regulations that prohibit the feeding of most mammalian proteins to ruminants.

What proactive initiatives are underway to educate farmers, veterinarians, extension agents, etc.?

An important part of the USDA's active surveillance program is the training of veterinarians in the signs, diagnosis and sampling for BSE. Videotapes of cattle showing clinical signs of BSE have been distributed to veterinarians in Federal and State governments, laboratories, and pathology departments of veterinary colleges. Microscope slides showing typical BSE lesions have been distributed to the laboratories, and Federal Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) diagnosticians have trained in Great Britain in BSE recognition. BSE fact sheets, risk assessments, and reviews have also been sent to State and Federal veterinarians, private practitioners, other industries, and to producers. In addition, APHIS personnel have given numerous presentations to various animal health groups. Finally, over 250 Federal and State veterinarians throughout the US have been trained in the recognition of FAD's including BSE.

What measures has USDA-APHIS taken to prevent the introduction of BSE?

In 1989, APHIS banned the import of all cattle and restricted the import of certain cattle products from the United Kingdom and other countries where BSE was diagnosed.

On December 6, 1991, APHIS restricted the import of cattle meat and banned most byproducts of cattle origin from countries known to have BSE (56 Federal Register [FR] 63868 and 63869). Prior to this, the products were prohibited by not issuing permits.

Certain products cannot be imported into the United States, except under special permit for scientific, educational or research purposes, or under special conditions to be used in cosmetics. These products include serum, glands, collagen, etc.

As of December 12, 1997, APHIS has prohibited the import of live cattle and most cattle products from all of Europe. The restrictions applied to Albania, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. These actions were in addition to those already in place regarding countries that had reported BSE in native cattle.

This action was taken in 1997 because the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg have reported their first cases of BSE in native-born cattle. There is evidence that European countries may have had high BSE risk factors for several years and less-than-adequate surveillance.

An interim rule was published and the comment period closed on March 9, 1998. Criteria to assess the risk factors were developed in accordance with the standards adopted by the Office of International Epizootics (OIE).

Have we allowed the importation of cattle semen and embryos from BSE-affected countries?

Yes. BSE has never been detected in embryos, semen, or reproductive tissues of BSE-affected cows and bulls. Embryo transfer experiments have been completed in cattle. This recently published study found that the disease is not transmitted via embryos collected from cows with BSE.

Import protocols exceed the recommendation of the Office of International Epizootics (OIE). All bulls producing semen for export to the United States are required to meet all 5 of the following conditions:

1. The semen donor has not been on premises where BSE has occurred within 5 years of the date of embryo or semen collection;
2. The semen donor is not affected with BSE;
3. No progeny of the semen donor is affected with BSE;
4. The parents of the semen donor are not affected with BSE; and
5. The semen donor has not been fed ruminant-derived protein.

What actions are taken at USDA-inspected slaughter establishments to ensure that cattle with brain diseases would not enter the human food supply?

All cattle sent for processing in the United States are inspected by FSIS for signs of brain impairment. Any animals with signs during this inspection are condemned, and the meat is not permitted for use as human food. The brains from these animals are sent to USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories for analysis.

Does USDA have a response plan in the event a case of BSE or TSE is diagnosed in US cattle?

Yes. In 1990, APHIS developed a plan to respond to a confirmation of BSE in the US In August 1996, a joint APHIS-FSIS working group updated this BSE response plan. The purpose of the plan is to provide a step-by-step plan of action in the event that a case of BSE is detected in the United States. The plan outlines those events that should take place, including identifying suspect animals, confirmation, the investigation, animal and herd disposal, and informing the public. The plan has been shared with other government agencies that have developed their own plans to coordinate with those of USDA.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 2:33 pm 
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The current thought is that blood, skeletal bone, feces, and urine probably do not present TSE infectivity issues, provided they are not contaminated or mixed with infective tissue from an afflicted host during processing or handling. That infective tissue includes dura matter and eye tissue, among other things.

Normal prions appear in an alpha helix conformation, whereas the infective prion variants thought to be involved in TSE take on a beta sheet configuration. There appears to be some controversy as to what causes native prions to convert to the infective variant's beta sheet form. The beta form evidently makes the variant resistant/impervious to proteases and heating at normal cooking temperature; the beta form apparently also is quite hydrophobic. From a brief search of the material on the prion agents believed to be involved in TSE, I haven't seen any findings that composting alone neutralizes the infective nature of those agents. I have not found a lot of testing specific to composting, but the ineffectiveness of proteases, radiation, acidity/alkalinity, and temperatures typical of composting raises a strong inference that composting will not eliminate the infectivity presented by tissue containing the TSE prion variant. It may turn out that multiple runs through the composting process or extended composting time gives different results.

The only two completely successful approaches to deactivating infected tissue that I have seen described so far are (i) incineration at 1000 F or above; or (ii) strong alkaline hydrolysis at elevated temperature and pressure. References to deactivation by using chlorine bleach, sodium hydroxide, or heat treatment at a lower temperature appear to me to be aimed at bare prions in a laboratory or clinical setting. Those treatments apparently are ineffective or unreliable for tissue masses that contain the infective prion variants, probably depending on the amount of biomass that is associated with the prion variants. Bone and blood probably are not treated harshly enough in the meal production process to neutralize infective prion variants reliably, but maybe the process could be changed to deal effectively within the context of the end products' fine textures.

I still think it is pretty unlikely that an average garden user could be afflicted from exposure to bone meal or blood meal. The convoluted path that apparently would be required seems fairly unlikely, at least given the limited amount that we know about the situation now. I know there are those who fear prion contamination of plants, especially on the exterior of root vegetables, but I'm not too sure that plants clean enough to eat would have external prion residue even if the soil amendments were contaminated. Obviously, there is a level of soil concentration that would be too dangerous to be around, but that's not a current likely situation. If the suspected infective prion variants could incorporate into plant tissue, then we could have a real problem. Maybe they do already and we don't know it, but it seems to me that the hydrophobic nature of the beta sheet construct would be an impediment. Of course, I could be wrong. One thing I do know is that continued or increasing outbreaks of BSE probably would lead to fundamental changes in our food policy that politics so far has been able to avoid.

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 Post subject: BSE
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 10:47 am 
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Because I raise livestock, Cattle and Goats, I am very concerned about the various prion diseases. I don't think most people know that for years dairy cattle in particular, were feed large amounts of bone meal to provide calcium for milk production. The use of antibiotics and hormones creates an animal that produces more than is 'natural'. Alfalfa is expensive to feed and even at that may not provide the needs of these cows. The general trail of thought at this time is that ONE prion is highly unlikely to mutate to cause BSE. Repeated ingestion of many prions and mutations that could be found in bone meal fed to cattle can. For good research look to the UK. :x USDA has not taken the problems of 'factory farming' seriously. I find it interesting that the gentleman that actually slaughtered the infected cow in Washington was fired.HMMMM??


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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 3:48 pm 
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Hello all,

I stumbled onto this site today and think it's great (hope you don't mind a yankee hangin around? The fact that I spent a year living in Cedar Park bye Lake Travis helps out my cause I hope :D ).

My 2 cents about "MCD", I don't believe a single word that comes out of anyone's mouth that works for the federal government concerning this matter. So when it comes my garden I have not purchased or used any type of packaged composts / manures / blood or bone meals in my raised beds or compost piles since they had to put all of those animals down in Europe ( though I had quit using packaged composts and manures prior to that after finding chunks of pressure treated lumber in a couple of bags of "NATURAL" composted steer manure).

I make my compost using grass clippings, straw, weeds, garden wastes, the usual household wastes and manure from my rabbits. I just can't and will not accept the possible risk that using commercial products could pose to the health of my family and garden until there is proof that those things pose NO RISK AT ALL!

I probably should mention that I live in the state were they found the infected cattle and did they ever pull out all the stops to hush things up about this here as quickly as they could.

Hope I made some sense as I do tend to ramble.

Peace

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 7:59 pm 
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Ed, welcome to the forum. There are a bunch of us Yankees here as well.
Thanks for your post. My compost consists pretty much grass clippings and kitchen and garden waste. I am convinced that compost is the best fertilizer. My garden is doing so much better since I have been adding the compost. Also, don't forget to foliar feed your plants and trees with compost tea. It is a delicious treat for them.

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Converting one person at a time to Organics, the only way to go!! [ ME ]


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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 9:58 pm 
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Thanks for the welcome Gar, I'm have to do some reading on the proper way to brew me some compost tea.


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 Post subject: Correct me if I am wrong
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:10 am 
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I was listening to NPR recently and they reported that England tests EACH cow for that disease, and that the USA only tests 1 in a rather large number which I can't remember. That is the reason that the USA appears to have a safer beef supply. If our country tested each animal, I wonder what the numbers would be.
Wouldn't grass fed only animals be safer?


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 Post subject: diseases and compost
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 10:08 pm 
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I agree that hay fed cattle would be safer than cattle pumped full of anitbiotics and other questionable things.

As far as being worried about diseases in compost, a properly maintained compost pile will eradicate all forms of viri and pathogens. By properly maintained, I mean a compost pile that regularly heats up to 120 degrees or higher allowing the high temperature beneficial microbes to do their job. If someone is still worried about the pile, just let it sit longer.

Using a three bin compost container, where each bin is 4' x 4' x 4', by the time the third bin is filled up to the top, the first should be ready. Of course, this is assuming a standard family size of 3 or 4 people and normal amounts of table scraps, grass/weeds/clippings, etc. are used. You will have some added time due to the compaction of the compost as it starts to work its magic.

Dean


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:23 am 
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Actually, my friend, the normal hot active compost pile, with 145+ degree F internal temperatures isn't good enough to neutralize the BSE prions like normal pathogens and mild toxins found in most organic matter. As mentioned earlier it takes either over 1000+ degrees F, or a super strong alkalinic solution, to destroy it! That is the reason for the international concern about how to effectively "compost" the BSE prion.

However based on everything I've read thus far, the BSE is too large of a complex molecule to be absorbed into our crops through our normal sustainable farming foliar and soil building application methods today.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 11:09 am 
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Enzyme11 wrote:

Bone and blood probably are not treated harshly enough in the meal production process to neutralize infective prion variants reliably, but maybe the process could be changed to deal effectively within the context of the end products' fine textures.


You also state that a big fear is unwarranted. Agreed. If we got very technical we would soon see that our own houses would be too toxic to eat in because of the exposure to air and whatever. We don't live in bubbles, but it does help to know that blood, bones, meat products really are needing to be specially cared for when using them for gardening. Antibiotics and things given to animals and fed to animals, I am told, all (without exception-maybe i"m wrong) are also stored in the fat of the animal. So, eating meat can put a person at risk in ways we hadn't considered. And gardeners using those products for gardening would also be putting that dead animal in their garden... So much for vegetarians, Ha!
Organic and all. They get it anyway don't they?! Still, living in a bubble is not my idea of good living. Nice group of posts, thanks.

used to be vegetarian too,
carla


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:57 pm 
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Enzyme,

I understand what you say in that scientists have only been able to come up with those two methods to neutralize the mad cow diesaese organisms. But, as you also mentioned, you haven't found much on scientists doing any experiments with composting to really amount to a lot of information.

I have complete confidence that mother nature has a way to control these little beasties with her own little army. We (mankind) just have to find out what that is. We just have to "listen" to her more. We, as a species, are too quick to jump on a quick fix solution if it even looks like it is headed in the right direction. (Reference here to the almighty dollar.) And, if we don't find one, we make an alternate - synthetics - which is not always the best way.

Since compost has many little "things" in it that counteract many different viri, bacteria, etc. there is bound to be one or more that can attack this stuff.

The truth is out there. You just have to look for it. I just wish people would look for it harder. Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. :)

Dean


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 Post subject: Stop BSE - here's how
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:27 am 
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Posts: 31
Location: Grandview, TX
There is only one and only one proven way to stop the spread of BSE.


STOP FEEDING COWS COWS.

Personally, I eat as little feed lot beef as possible while eating as much pasture fed beef as possible.

No matter what dialouge goes on for the "pros and the cons" of BSE. Stopping the cannabalistic procedure of feeding cows cows will ensure that we travel down the road of stopping the spread of BSE.

By the way, my mom died of CJD...(no, not Vcjd or NVcjd, both commonly known as the human form of BSE), but CJD. So, I caught a glimpse of this horrible disease. For us to continue the current feed lot process is simply not good thinking.

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