Filed Under: Mad Cow Disease

“Mad deer” theory takes a few bullets

We’ve been telling you for two years how a cabal of organic-only food advocates, leftist “sustainable agriculture” agitators, and anti-technology activists have combined their forces to incite a needless panic in the U.S. over mad cow disease. Their latest strategy is to suggest a link with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a naturally-occurring malady that strikes deer and elk populations.

John Stauber, fearmonger-in-chief at the Center for Media and Democracy, has led the charge in this regard, making appearances to warn hunters (falsely) that they could die from eating hunted venison. His theory, of course, would require CWD to jump the species barrier into humans, something that has never been demonstrated to occur.

Now the Wisconsin Division of Public Health is reporting that the death of a hunter there was not caused by CWD (dubbed “mad deer” disease by activists), but rather by Pick’s Disease, a relatively common brain disorder that is unrelated to CWD and mad-cow.

But don’t expect an apology from Stauber or his organization for crying “wolf.” Even as questions emerge about the very causes of mad cow disease — researchers at Tulane and the University of Kansas now think a bacterium could be to blame — the activists’ agenda has not budged a bit. The American “sustainability” movement has seen what a mad-cow panic did to European consumers, and longs for a similar outcome in the United States.

This bizarre schaddenfreude was spelled out best by Ronnie Cummins at the Organic Consumers Association in that group’s January 2001 newsletter, when he noted that mad cow disease had caused Europe’s population to “lose faith in industrial agriculture altogether,” and openly hoped that “a similar crisis of confidence may start to develop in the United States as well.” With a utopian flourish worthy of Joseph Stalin, Cummins added that “Mad Cow Disease [in the U.S.] and the growing global opposition to factory farming and genetic engineering may turn out to be the harbingers of a new era of sustainable living and organic agriculture.”

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