Unexplained Cattle Deaths
And The Emergence Of A Major
TSE Epidemic in North America

National Institute for Discovery Science

Note - Because of the length of this outstanding report and that it is in a 'pdf' format, many may not read it all or successfully access the file. Therefore, I am posting several excerpts here which, hopefully, will encourage more to access and carefully read this entire precedent-setting scientific work... -ed
We present evidence that a correlation exists between reports of animal mutilation and the emergence of a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) epidemic in North America.
* We show that sharp instruments are used in animal mutilations. Our data contradict the conclusions of the 1980 Rommel Report that claimed predators and scavengers could explain reports of cattle mutilations.
* Using data obtained from a NIDS nationwide survey of bovine veterinarian practitioners, we show that certain organs are preferentially removed during animal mutilations.
* We focus attention on the temporal and geographical overlaps between the animal mutilation and TSE epidemics in NE Colorado. The most highly publicized TSE epidemic in North America, chronic wasting disease (CWD), emerged in NE Colorado in the late 1960s.
* We show evidence that patterns of animal mutilations conform to covert but classical wild life sampling methodologies for infectious diseases.
* We show evidence in support of an epidemic of prion disease that is both subclinical in cattle and clinical in deer/elk in North America.
* We describe evidence from two laboratories that a number of prion diseases in humans are misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's disease and therefore currently escape detection.
* The historical record shows that high levels of infectious TSEs were imported from New Guinea into research facilities at Fort Detrick and Bethesda, Maryland after 1958 and were used for intensive cross-species infectivity experiments.
* We hypothesize that animal mutilations represent both a TSE-disease sampling operation on domestic animals AND a graphic warning that the beef and venison food chain is compromised.
Overall, the evidence suggests that animal mutilations are a long-term, covert, prion disease sampling operation by unknown perpetrators who are aware of a substantial contamination of the beef and venison food supply. Although this paper presents evidence in favor of a motive for animal mutilations, there is still insufficient evidence to identify the perpetrators.
The hypotheses described in this paper yield a number of testable predictions. Examining these predictions in the coming months and years is increasingly urgent because they have considerable public health implications. Secondly the recent (May 2003) announcement of a case of mad-cow disease in Alberta, Canada has brought the issue of the contamination of the human food chain into sharper focus.
Cases of unexplained cattle deaths, also known as animal mutilations, are characterized by the deliberate removal of organs from domestic and wild animals by unknown perpetrators. Testimony from veterinary pathologists, law enforcement officials and cattle inspectors clearly distinguish animal mutilations from death of domestic and wild animals by infectious disease, predation, and other natural causes (1). The phenomenon has been unsuccessfully investigated by law enforcement and by a variety of researchers since the early 1970s. Animal mutilations emerged into the glare of media attention beginning in the late 1960s, intensified in the 1970s and since then have waxed and waned in intensity. Although animal mutilation research has been immersed in a miasma of wild speculation, false claims and unscientific methodology, there is considerable evidence that the phenomenon is real.
The two central and unanswered questions that have dogged research into this phenomenon are (a) Who and (b) Why? The purpose of the present paper is to focus on the second question and to review evidence suggesting a link between the intense animal mutilation waves of the 1970s/1980s and the emergence of an epidemic of infectious disease in North America during and after this period. The issue of the contamination of the North American food supply by an infectious prion agent has come into sharper focus since the announcement in May 2003 by Canadian authorities of a confirmed case of mad cow disease in Alberta, Canada. This paper hypothesizes that patterns of animal mutilations are consistent with a covert infectious disease monitoring operation in the United States and elsewhere. It is not the purpose of this paper to ask the question: "who is killing and mutilating the animals"?
Lines of Evidence Suggesting the Animal Mutilation-TSE Linkage
1. NE Colorado was a Major Animal Mutilation Epicenter 1975-1977 In a two-year period, (1975-77) in two Colorado counties alone, there were nearly two hundred reports of mutilated cattle (1). Governor Richard D. Lamm flew to Pueblo Colorado on Sept 4, 1975 to confer with the executive board of the Cattlemen's Association about the mutilations, which he called "one of the greatest outrages in the history of the western cattle industry." The Governor added, "it is no longer possible to blame predators for the mutilations" (2). In the 1970s, in addition to the scores of cases in NE Colorado, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of animal mutilation reports were investigated by local law enforcement with cases occurring in 15 states, from South Dakota and Montana to New Mexico and Texas.
2. Since 1981, NE Colorado has been the epicenter of a CWD epidemic Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion associated neurodegenerative disease that is a part of a larger family of fatal conditions that include Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in sheep and sporadic and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (sCJD or vCJD)/kuru in humans (3). Prion diseases are described in more detail below.
CWD afflicts mule deer, white-tailed deer and American elk (waipiti) in several states and in Canada. CWD was first seen in 1967 in captive deer at a Colorado State University research station in Fort Collins, Colorado. Shortly after the animal mutilation epidemic in NE Colorado died down, beginning in 1981, cases of CWD were found in free-ranging deer and elk, initially only in areas in northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. Recently, however, surveys in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska have documented an astoundingly high CWD prevalence in some wild deer herds (3). By February 2003, additional CWD cases have been documented in Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada. In spite of strenuous culling efforts by state wildlife agencies, CWD appears to be spreading rapidly.
3. Predators, Scavengers or Sharp Instruments?
An oft-cited study throughout the history of animal mutilation investigations has been the famous Rommel Report. Written in 1980 by retired FBI officer Ken Rommel, the report purports to show that simple predator and scavenger activity was mistaken by ranchers and law enforcement officials for "mutilations" (19). There have been numerous criticisms of this report, not least of which was a complete lack of forensic or veterinary pathology expertise on the part of the senior investigator. In fact, before being appointed to head Operation Animal Mutilation, Rommel's prior career expertise had focused on the investigation of bank robberies.
Rommel purportedly investigated about 20 mutilations in the state of New Mexico during a six month period in 1979. Given that NIDS has (so far) spent seven years continuously investigating cattle mutilations, arguably with far greater resources than those given to the Rommel investigation, the tiny scope and extremely short time frame of the Rommel study demolished it's credibility as a serious scientific study. Nevertheless, the NIDS investigations of animal mutilations in northern New Mexico have confirmed at least one aspect of the results published in the Rommel Report. Using veterinary pathology and bacteriology analysis, NIDS found a majority of reported animal mutilations in northern New Mexico 1996-2002 were false positives. Animals had died of Clostridial infection (blackleg), under-nourishment, as a result of the inappropriate application of the organophosphate insecticide Warbex (64) or from other natural causes.
The NIDS investigations found that scavengers had subsequently attacked and devoured parts of these carcasses. Where the Rommel Report and the NIDS analysis part ways is that NIDS has also conducted field investigations, including necropsies and tissue sampling, of animal mutilations in other states, including Utah, Montana, Nebraska, California, Oregon, Washington etc. Where the Rommel investigation used a few isolated cases of false positives in New Mexico that were gathered over an extremely truncated time frame to generalize that all animal mutilations in the United States were simply the result of predator or scavenger activity, it could be argued that the NIDS approach has been more scientific. It is also noteworthy that the Rommel Report has been widely cited by some law enforcement groups (although, as time goes on, increasingly fewer), university laboratories, and veterinary groups as justification for not expending resources on investigations into animal mutilations.
NIDS has investigated several mutilation cases where evidence for the use of sharp instruments was documented using veterinary pathology techniques (20 and references therein). In this report, we will cite just two examples; others can be found in (20).
Case #1: Circumstances and Preliminary Investigation
March 10, 1997 ó 10:00 AM: Two ranchers on a remote pasture in NE Utah began the daily tagging of calves born the night before. The weather was bright and sunny, temperatures in the 50s. The ranchers estimated they tagged and weighed the 87-pound animal about 100 yards from the fence line. There was a ring of snow surrounding the pasture where they tagged the animal.
After tagging the animal, they walked about 300 yards west to another newborn animal and went through the process of weighing and tagging that animal. The two were accompanied by their blue heeler dog. About 10:45 AM, the heeler began to growl and act strangely with a focus on the area they had just left.
March 10 ó 10:45 AM: The blue heeler began snarling in earnest and arching his back. Without warning, the animal ran west across the fields, away from the direction he had been looking. The heeler was never seen again.
March 10 ó 10:50 AM: The rancher and his wife, looking back, then noticed a grown cow running frantically back and forth towards the fence line while dragging her leg. Both then walked back to investigate. The rancher reported seeing the recently tagged newborn calf lying eviscerated in the field (see photos), close to where it had been tagged about 45 minutes previously. In a 45-minute period in daylight, 100 yards from any cover, with the rancher about 200-300 yards away, the calf had most of its body weight removed, including entrails, and appeared to have been placed carefully on the ground with no blood present on or near the animal.
March 10 ó 4:00 PM: In one of the most rapid turn-around times in NIDS' investigative history, two NIDS scientific investigators and a veterinarian were standing over the dead calf only a few hours after receiving the call from the rancher. The photo below (Fig 1) is an accurate representation of how the animal was found:
[Figure 1. The animal was found spread-eagled on the grass with no blood on or underneath.]
The investigators confirmed the eviscerated calf as reported by the rancher. The veterinarian began the necropsy. Investigators videotaped the necropsy and photographed the procedure. As the veterinarian performed the necropsy, he said a sharp instrument, possibly a knife, had been used to remove the ear. He also reported there may have been evidence of chewing on the animal. The initial observation made by the veterinarian regarding the use of a sharp instrument on the animal's ear (see photograph below) was later confirmed by an independent veterinary pathology lab.
[Figure 2: The animal's left ear had been cleanly cut with a sharp instrument.]
[Figure 3. Close-up of ear.]
A close-up of the ear (Figure 3) showed that the cartilage, hide and all connective tissue had been cleanly sliced to remove the ear. A detached femur bone from the animal was sent to one of the top forensic pathologists in the country who confirmed that two separate sharp instruments had been used on the bone: a heavy machete-like instrument and a smaller scissors-like instrument.
Within 24 hours, an experienced tracker who makes a living tracking game animals arrived and quartered an area nearly a mile radius from the dead calf. No tracks were found.
No blood was found on or near the animal. The veterinarian who conducted the necropsy opined the animal had been exsanguinated very effectively. In order to test the hypothesis that blood may have seeped from the animal into the soil, NIDS obtained about 3 liters of fresh blood (the approximate blood volume of the exsanguinated animal, using the standard assumption that blood is approx 7% of body weight) from the local slaughterhouse. The blood was poured on the ground where the calf was found. Videotapes and photographs were recorded of the blood on the ground at regular intervals for 48 hours following the initiation of the experiment. Even 48 hours after the blood was poured, the bright red stain of hemoglobin was very obvious on the grass.
The following is a portion of the Summary remarks at the end of the NIDS report:
Why Leave the Body?
This question has plagued investigators ever since the first well-publicized investigations of mutilations began back in the early 1970s. As any reader familiar with the animal mutilation topic will agree, a plethora of hypotheses have sprung up about the perpetrators and their motives for animal mutilations. One of the most quoted hypotheses involves a government operation to monitor radiation or biological warfare testing. But the question "why leave the body?" has never been adequately answered by these hypotheses. The government can just as easily test their own herds, the counter-argument goes, or obtain carcasses from a slaughterhouse if they wish to covertly monitor radiation. Thus, for this and many other reasons, the evidence points away from the government as perpetrators of animal mutilations.
Vallee (56) and Smith (57) have suggested intriguing hypotheses that leaving the cow carcass on the ground constitutes a deliberate message. In common with both these authors, we suggest that implicit in the deliberate lack of an attempt to conceal the carcass on the part of the perpetrators of animal mutilation, is a brutal warning. We suggest that attention is being deliberately focused on the mutilated animals. Further, we suggest the warning is that the human food chain is compromised, probably with a prion-associated infectious agent that still remains mostly undetected.
We urge everyone to read the full report here:
(PDF file - requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


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