The commentary by Lisa Kriese-Anderson in your April 2004 issue, “Well-Meaning, Idealistic And Unprofitable,” page 31, was unusually biased for your magazine's usually middle-of-the-road commentary. As an agroecologist, I found a number of troubling comments in the piece.

It's simply not true that America sustains much of the rest of the world's food supply. While the U.S. does offer a great deal of“aid” food, the amount of food it exports on a commercial basis is relatively small compared to its overall production.

Actually, most of the world is able to provide its own food — barring, of course, places mired in politics or conflict, such as Zimbabwe or Ethiopia. Let's try and get away from this arrogant, rather narrow-minded thinking.

The truth is that American food competes on the world stage. And this competition is getting ever more difficult as an increasing number of countries that do import U.S. food clamp down on the use of growth hormones, genetic manipulation and antibiotic use (whether this is right or wrong, good or bad, is not the argument here).

Current conventional agriculture is actually — and there are enough literature and research abstracts to support this — depleting the resource base upon which it is founded. A paradigm shift is indeed needed if the cost of inputs to support an ever-decreasing yield is not to skyrocket.

Based on scientific fact, “land” is not the issue; the way farming is being done is the issue. Bear in mind also that, for many “alternative” or “organic” ranchers and farmers, the question is more about a lifestyle choice rather than maximization of profit. There is nothing wrong with converting to optimization as opposed to maximization.

Even though ranching and farming are biological practices, let's try to keep hype and opinion without scientific facts to a minimum in a magazine aimed at working ranchers and farmers.
Marco Turco
Farm manager
Miner Research Institute
Chazy, NY

Another Theory On BSE

The article titled “Still No Beef To Mad Cow Mania” by Steven Milloy in the February issue of BEEF (page 28) hit the nail on the head with the fact that the conventional theory for the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) fails to meet Koch's Postulates for disease transmission.

However, Milloy is wrong when he states that no other explanations for BSE/nvCJD have been developed. An environmental causal theory with strong scientific support has recently come forward.

A researcher from the United Kingdom, Mark Purdey, has devoted the last 15 years to the study of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) — BSE in cattle, scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and non-variant Creutfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD) in people. Anywhere in the world where there was an outbreak of any of these diseases, Purdey visited and made extensive environmental studies. He has learned that a specific mineral imbalance was present in every case of these diseases — a deficiency of copper coupled with the presence of high levels of ferrimagnetic or radioactive metals.

His research shows that these other metals actually cause the disease.

Purdey has theorized that copper normally binds with prions in the brain, and that the copper/prion union performs a beneficial function in the brain, which is the dissipation of electromagnetic energy. When copper is unavailable, either depleted in the environment or bound by other chemicals and there are high levels of ferrimagnetic metals (like manganese) or radioactive metals, then these metals bind with prions and cause the prions to misfold, resulting in disease. Purdey believes these rogue prion/metal combinations concentrate electromagnetic energy in the brain, causing free radicals to destroy brain tissue.

Purdey's work can be found at www.purdeyenvironment.com. His most recent article is titled “Radioactive Metals, Sonic Shockbursts and the Ferrimagneto-Prion Theory on the Origins of TSEs.” This article is the source for most of the information in this letter.

In addition to not meeting Koch's Postulates, the conventional theory leaves a number of other questions unanswered. Following are a few examples.

  1. Researchers have never induced BSE by feeding prion infected meat-and-bone meal (MBM) to cattle.

  2. The UK banned the feeding of MBM to cattle in 1988, yet there have been 45,000 cows diagnosed with BSE in the UK born after 1988. How did these cows get the disease?

  3. Scientists have never proven the disease can cross the species barrier under normal conditions. For example, in Iceland, farmers have for generations slaughtered and eaten — including the brains — of scrapie-infected sheep. None of these farmers have ever developed CJD.

  4. There was recently an outbreak of CWD in an isolated deer herd in New Mexico, a herd 500 miles from any other deer or elk with CWD.

These are but a few examples of questions unanswered by the conventional theory. Real problems with the conventional BSE theory coupled with the promise of scientifically valid alternative theories indicate the need for an immediate, thorough and objective reevaluation of the disease by scientists and policy makers. We must understand BSE before we can hope to adopt effective policies to deal with this disease.
Bobby Grove
White Ridge Farm
Somerville, VA 22739