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Foot in mouth: animals, disease, and the cannibal complex


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Tiffin, HM 2007 , 'Foot in mouth: animals, disease, and the cannibal complex' , Mosaic, vol. 40, no. 1 , pp. 11-26 .

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Although the title of this paper invokes a disease of sheep as well as cattle, my primary concern is with the outbreak of another illness whose history in animal
(and human) populations is more cryptic and more recent: so-called “mad cow” disease, or BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy). Both the 2001 foot and mouth
scourge in Britain and “mad cow” disease were (and are) widely represented in the media as disasters or catastrophes, in the case of foot and mouth for the sheep industry, and BSE for Britain’s beef producers. The detection of a single cow with BSE on a Washington (US) farm in 2004 had major financial repercussions for Canada’s farmers when the United States banned imports of Canadian cattle and meat products allegedly to protect its herds (and humans) from BSE and new variant Creutzfeldt-
Jacob disease. The animals (especially sheep) caught up in the foot and mouth outbreak in Britain were slaughtered and then burnt in huge pyres, a holocaust similar to
that following the mass killing of over a million cattle in Britain in 1987.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tiffin, HM
Journal or Publication Title: Mosaic
Publisher: University of Manitoba
ISSN: 0027-1276
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