Cannibalism

I was struck by my own lax dietary habits recently when it occurred to me just how difficult it is to find a butcher that sells kosher meat.

In Britain the carcasses are hung in (hopefully) refrigerated storehouses until the meat is rank enough to be eaten by gentiles.  I had hoped that in eating only tinned meat in the hope that it has gone straight into a more hygienic storage process would save my own sorry carcass from infections. But now, having a difficult to treat cellulitis, I am trying to be more careful.

For those of you yet to have your chips:

Prions

The subacute spongifrom encephalopathies are associated with unconventional agents whose purification and exact physical identification are yet to be achieved. For many years, scrapie was known to be caused by a transmissible agent where a subacute, steadily progressive and invariably fatal disease is seen. Pathologically, the brain showed areas of gliosis, neuronal loss, vacuolation of neurons, and no inflammatory response. “Scrapie” was used to described the tendency of affected animals to scrape their coats against fences because of pruritus. The disease can be transmitted from animal to animal by parenteral inoculation and could be transmitted to laboratory mice. Scrapie was classified as a “slow infection”, akin to other animal diseases such as visna and maedi. It was subsequently noted that scrapie was very similar to Kuru and Creutzfeldt Jacob syndrome, and it was subsequently shown that disease could be transmitted from patients suffering from Kuru and CJD to chimpanzees and other primates. During the 1970s, the major thrust of the research was in purification of the infectious agent.

From what little I remember reading about Scrapie it was first noticed among a flock of Danish sheep after a long boat ride to Iceland during the 1930’s. I very much doubt the niceties of naval shepherding during The Depression and rather suppose that the sheep had taken to eating one another during the voyage. Whatever the case, it seems little or nothing was done about it.

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