If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, or if your 4th of July celebration will consist of enthusiastic tofu-burger consumption, then you may rejoice in the possibility that your beef loving counterparts are faced with a threat to their ability to consume animal flesh. However, this particular threat will not spare the lives of cows, rather this threat will kill them before the workers at the meat processing plant have a chance to. So even if you believe that killing cows to satisfy the appetite of human beings is morally wrong, you will still want to read on as many ranchers are being forced to face a new insect born disease that is killing their cows.
The disease is called Anaplasmosis, and although it may not be a “new” disease, there are very little studies available to understand and prevent this disease from reaching livestock. This is because the disease is carried by insects in the gulf coast or other wet and humid climates where livestock are not raised, and therefore, not many cases of the disease have been documented over the years. However, many of the disease carrying insects are migrating to areas where cattle are more common, and ranchers are at a loss for how to treat or prevent the disease that is only now becoming a problem.
One recent study gathered blood samples from cattle and found that two thirds of the blood samples tested positive for the insect born disease. Anaplasmosis is carried by flies and ticks, and it is possible that recent changes in climate may be to blame for the insects migrating to areas where large amounts of cattle are raised. Prevention and quarantine efforts are now being planned with the hopes that this disease will not get out of hand. And just when you thought you knew of the consequences of climate change you are now finding that it may be responsible for large-scale cattle death. Both meat eaters and vegetarians now have a mutual reason to weep.
Ho do you think our food industry will suffer if this disease does spread through our cattle?