I will end what I have been writing about what is known as “Chronic Wasting Disease” by saying that it should not be called that anymore, nor by any other of a half dozen common names used to describe it. When found in deer and elk, it is ‘Spongiform Encephalopathy’, which occurs in several mammals, INCLUDING MAN. You CAN get it from eating the meat of infected cattle, sheep, goats, elk or deer!
If anyone dies from it, doctors or coroners can only tell they have it by finding what they call prions, in the brain or spinal fluid through an extensive autopsy. Those who die from it are very often misdiagnosed as dying from some other disease, because prions are not looked for. But I will repeat what I said in my last column… a study of brain samples of approximately 300 people who died from what was thought to be Alzheimer’s disease” showed that’s about 10 percent of them had prions in the brain.
Let me add that doctors don’t know all the answers yet to this disease… but none of them will tell you that human’s cannot get it from eating diseased animal meat. Thousands have died from eating cattle in England with spongiform encephalopathy, known commonly as ‘mad cow disease’. If you talk to those who know the disease, they will tell you that there are variations in prions and that one variation may not be a problem for anything but animals.
That was what game and fish departments once told hunters. They wanted to convince them not to worry about getting the prions from elk and deer. THAT CONCEPT IS BLATANTLY UNTRUE! If you are making millions from selling elk and deer tags, you are scared to death that the truth will cut into your revenue.
I tell hunters “ don’t believe what I am telling you or what conservation departments have said in the past, just to study the disease as much as possible and do the things that protect you AFTER you have killed the deer. I covered that in last week’s column. You should have your deer checked after killing it, before you start gutting it and for certain, before you begin to process it.
Do not eat any untested deer. I would never take a deer to a processing plant, because they process hundreds of untested deer. What if there were diseased deer processed before yours. What if you get someone else’s deer meat mixed with yours. Think it never happens in those places? If there ever was a higher chance of getting prions into your system it is through those “share your harvest programs”. In a later column, I will tell you things about those venison distribution programs you do not know, and you need to know. It is just as much a “get rid of everything but the antlers” program so trophy hunters can dump venison they do not want without breaking the law against wanton waste of wildlife.
To get confirmation about much of what I say here, go to the Internet and read all you can about it. You are going to be surprised that those who study it do not say what you are being told by those who want more deer tags to be sold each year. And do you wonder why then, that there are no articles in newspapers about those who have died from the disease, like Mrs. Schroeder’s husband. That’s Taboo for the news media. You read in this column last week about the researchers who are trying to find out more about spongiform encephalopathy who have died from it. You’ll read about that nowhere else!
Now let me add that about 75 percent of the deer disease they want to call chronic wasting disease shows up in older bucks, almost never in young deer, and seldom in female deer. That is why I urge you, if you kill a buck, to use good heavy up-to-the-elbow rubber gloves when you clean it and GET IT TESTED!
And never eat venison someone else gives you! Read, study and know the truth.
Next week, hunting the ruffed grouse.
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