'Mad Cow' Linked To Region Of Canada That Was Focus Of Strange 'Mutilations'
By Michael H. Brown
So-called "cattle mutilations" -- those mysterious instances in which animals are found with parts of their bodies missing, or even devoid of all blood -- have occurred precisely in the parts of Canada now considered to be the epicenter of both wildlife brain-wasting disease and the first publicly-declared cases of mad-cow disease in North America.Researchers point out that since 1994, there have been at least 18 cases of unexplained animal mutilations in the remote province of Saskatchewan -- which is also where forty cases of chronic-wasting syndrome, a disease that may be linked to "mad cow," have been documented.
Moreover, it is believed the infected Holstein that recently made headlines in the state of Washington came from a dairy farm in the Canadian province of Alberta. That was also where Canada witnessed its own first case of mad cow last year. The diseased cow originated on a farm in Baldwinton, Saskatchewan -- the province that forms Alberta's eastern border and also has been the epicenter of Canadian cattle mutilations (at left the circles indicate mutilations and the stars outbreaks of chronic wasting in wildlife such as deer and elk). The wasting syndrome has hit west and north of Saskatoon, focusing on a town called North Battlefield.
Since the 1970s -- when such brain-wasting diseases were first reported among wildlife in places like Colorado -- there have been parallel reports of cattle found dead in the strange, gruesome, and yet surgical manner near those very same vicinities. Often the tongues, eyes, reproductive organs, or other tissues have been cleanly taken -- indicating to some that it may be the result of a clandestine monitoring operation. It is believed that the infectious agent -- perhaps nucleic acids attached to "prions" -- may accumulate in certain mammalian issues. Spreading in wildlife and cattle, such an agent would pose a plague threat.
For years, everything from satanic cults to aliens have been blamed for the well-documented mutilations -- so widespread that they once even drew the ire of Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm, who publicly declared the occurrences an "outrage" that could not be blamed on normal predators. Similar cases have been reported in at least a dozen U.S. states. Farmers and ranchers have found cows and bulls dead and in some instances missing much of their body weight, with signs of the surgical removal. Blood is gone from the animal, though there is no evidence of human or animal tracks and not a drop of blood at the actual scene, mystifying investigators.
The question posed by some is whether the brain-wasting disease, known as "transmissible spongiform encephalopathy," or TSE, escaped from a laboratory or rose naturally -- and whether the government is now trying to monitor its spread without alarming the public. "We hypothesize that the animal mutilations reported in northwestern Saskatchewan in the past several years may have been a covert TSE sampling operation by perpetrators who knew that TSE was spreading from farmed elk and deer in Saskatchewan to wild deer and thence to cattle," notes the National Institute for Discovery Science in Nevada -- another state that has witnessed the strange mutilations.
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