The July issue included a letter to the editor (page 19) listed as “It's A Hoof, Not a Foot.” The writer suggests that the name foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was an attempt by animal rights people to imply contagion to humans.

The name FMD predates the modern animal rights movement — which one could say began with Peter Singer's publication of “Animal Liberation” in 1975. My ‘old’ undergraduate textbook (“Hogan's Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals,” 5th edition, published in 1966) uses the name foot-and-mouth disease, for example.

Regarding the most technically correct contemporary name for the disease, the Institute for Animal Health (Pirbright Laboratory) is designated the World Reference Laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Office International des Epizooties. Its Web site for FMD is at: www.iah.bbsrc.ac.uk/virus/Picornaviridae/Aphthovirus/fmd.htm.

One of the links from the above listed site is titled, “An explanation of why it's not Hoof-and-Mouth Disease” and includes the following information: “It has been usual in North America to refer to FMD as “hoof-and-mouth disease.”

Ungulates have hooves (which are a protective covering of the end of the digits) on their feet. FMD does not infect the hooves, but rather the tissues close to them. This may result in loosening of the hoof from the surrounding tissue. Since the hoof consists of dead material it cannot become infected with a virus.

Hence the name “hoof-and-mouth disease” would be inaccurate.

FMD is the internationally recognized (English language) name of the disease and foot-and-mouth disease virus is the species name designated by the International Committee for the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

The July issue letter contained incorrect information and a generally false accusation (an implied conspiracy to mislead the public). There is an old Roman saying, “Choose your enemies well — for you will come to emulate them.”

I believe the statement in error should be noted as such and that persons in beef production should avoid at all costs resorting to tactics and standards employed by those persons whom are considered to be the adversaries of agriculture.
W. Ray Stricklin, PhD
University of Maryland

ws31@umail.umd.edu


A Question For Harlan

We're looking at leasing cattle in the Northwest. Do you have access to such information as the availability of cattle, the breeds that are available and the cost of getting started?

Harlan Hughes responds:

Leasing can be a win-win situation for both parties involved provided it's done right.

I don't keep a record of who has cows for lease and who wants to lease cows. I recommend you contact your local county Extension agent. They frequently hear of people wanting to lease cows.

In addition, contact agricultural loan officers in your region as they frequently know of people wanting to lease cows. I'd also encourage you to advertise in agricultural papers in your region. You will be surprised at who might respond.

You might find someone nearing retirement who wants to sell out but doesn't want to pay all the associated taxes. They frequently are interested in leasing cows and then collecting the cull cow income over several years, thus reducing the income tax consequences.

My “Market Advisor” article in this issue (page 8) is the third in a series on cow leasing. Refer to that series for some background on cow leasing and setting up an equitable cow lease.

I encourage you to look at www.beef-mag.com and search for my two previous “Market Advisor” articles on leasing — June BEEF, page 16; and July BEEF, page 10. You can also access older leasing publications of mine at www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/agecon/farmmgt/ec1086w.htm.

A sample lease is also available at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/cow. Take the “new” option and you'll find the sample lease listed at or near the top. This same sample lease is available at www.beefeconomics.blogspot.com. Scroll down to the June 14 article. Note that the first article also relates to beef cow leasing.

Send reader letters, with name and address, to BEEF, 7900 International Dr., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425; or e-mail to beef@primediabusiness.com. BEEF reserves the right to edit for length.