Study: Cows done in by bad spuds

(PhysOrg.com) -- Anyone taking the recent, mysterious deaths of 200 steers in a Portage County, Wis., feedlot as a sign of the apocalypse can rest easy. The cows, according to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, were done in by bad spuds.

Specifically, the were poisoned by a toxin found in moldy sweet potatoes, which apparently were mixed in with potato waste fed to the animals. Tests on feed samples revealed the presence of ipomeanol, a mycotoxin found in moldy sweet potatoes, says Peter Vanderloo, associate director of the lab.

"Based on history, clinical signs, changes in tissue and test results from our lab and a referral laboratory, it is likely that a from moldy sweet potato was a major factor in the disease and deaths of these steers," Vanderloo explains.

Sweet potato waste was a major component of the animals' diet at the time of the Jan. 14 incident, he notes. It is a common practice in agriculture to feed animals food that cannot be used for human consumption. In this case, the potatoes were never in the human food supply chain, Vanderloo explains, and there is no risk to human heath.

It was first suspected that a virus or other pathogen might have been responsible, Vanderloo says, because the animals exhibited symptoms consistent with pneumonia. However, laboratory tests found no evidence of any of the major that could cause a respiratory disease such as pneumonia. "None of the major respiratory pathogens of cattle were identified in the samples provided to the lab."

The lab looked for bovine herpesvirus, bovine viral diarrhea virus, bovine respiratory synctial virus and corona virus and found no evidence for those or any other pathogens, according to Vanderloo.

The deaths of the Wisconsin cattle, reported shortly after other mass die-offs of birds and fish, was reported widely and fueled wild speculation as to the cause, linking the deaths to everything from the end of the Mayan calendar to the second coming and the apocalypse.

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, established in 1938, is the primary state laboratory providing diagnostic services and disease surveillance tests for farmers and others to detect a wide variety of animal diseases and pathogens that affect domesticated and wild .


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Jan 28, 2011
Another good reason to "steer" clear of factory-farmed beef, if at all possible. All sorts of things that are not a natural part of cattles' diet are introduced into their feed in these factory farm situations -and this is one of the all-too-predictable results. Until only recently, cattle and other meat animals were fed the byproducts of their own slaughter. Heck, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this still "accidentally" happens, given the long history of quality control issues in the industry.

The main point is: any number of contaminants are fed to cattle, pigs, et c., in sub-lethal amounts, and therefore end up on your plate at home and out on the town.


Jan 28, 2011
i have often wondered about that.in the change from "feed" to meat what biological process does the feed go thru while it "changes" to meat.i don't think the "atomic structure" of offal appears in the meat but rather provides the energy for the cows "system" to make meat.as a meat making machine the cows act as "filters"..

Feb 02, 2011
'caliban', The name is an anagram of the Spanish word canibal, also the source of the English word "cannibal"


Very good, rgwalther, for as far as you got. Any other insights that you would care to offer here?
Why don't you try googling Caliban for the rest?

Which would be more to the point. I don't know what kept you so long from "discovering" the obvious. And even then, you didn't "discover" the correct.

Get a life.


Feb 03, 2011
I was curious as to your response. Touchy, touchy! People with secret identities should not be so sensitive. I decided to leave the Shakespeare reference out as one of my daughters acted in the Tempest in Performing Arts School. There are many other 'Caliban' references of which I am unaware or disinterested.
As for 'getting a life', in my 60 years I have been places and done things that would be impossible to adequately describe or even explain to most real people much less pseudonyms. I am now slowly dying in great pain from a congenital, heart defect and 'collateral damage' from two open heart surgeries, but I would not trade my life for any conceivable alternative and certainly not any other name.


Ok, then. Your response seems more than a little disingenuous, given the sudden burst of "1" ranks -but then again, what the fuck do I care. Happy sleuthing.


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