Wolves, Prions & Gullible Americans
17 December 2017
I recently received the following inquiry from a reader:
Mike Phillips from the Turner Endangered Species is using CWD as a bio weapon to bring wolves in places like Co. and to reduce possible harvest on wolves in states like MT., WY. so that these wolves can clean up the CWD mess in our ungulates. He has many sportsmen believing this is the cure, as CWD is the next Anthrax or Ebola scare
Is there anything you can do to help us “understand this issue better?”
It is my understanding that Prions will not be denatured in the digestive tract of wolves or other carnivores and scavengers. Is there some sort of scientific paper or study out there that can explain this process to a Joe Blow? Do you know of any more scientific papers, and or researchers and or facilities to help understand this issue better?
I have written and spoken about his aspect of the federal wolf debacle for years. You cannot begin to know how discouraging it is to be told that “many sportsmen” still believe this snake oil being sold as a “cure” by some patent-medicine barker in the pay of a billionaire with many hidden agendas. What is being peddled (that wolves “control” Chronic Wasting Disease) is a lie. Wolves will not “control” CWD in either wild or domestic animals. Wolves will actually increase both the presence and prevalence of CWD (plus a long list of other diseases and infections in rural humans, wildlife, domestic dogs and domestic farm animals).
Let me explain with a few observations about what the real facts are behind this latest scam being swallowed by our “sportsmen” and the AWOL Non-Government Organizations, bureaucrats, “scientists” and “our” politicians.
- A wolf is a coyote is a dog. Back in the days when a biological definition didn’t conceal hidden agendas; a “Species” consisted of “like animals that could mate and bear fertile offspring”. Wolves, coyotes and dogs are “like animals” and they “mate and bear fertile offspring” with the consistency of two rabbits or two basset hounds. This is important because as we discuss wolves, what we know (or will admit we know) about wolves is “known” mostly through what we “know” about dogs and what is true of one in these regards is true of the others.. This is further explained in II. below.
- Any attempt to consult recent and available American research about Canines (wolves, coyotes and dogs for our purposes) regarding:
- Canines as vectors and carriers of diseases;
- Historical and current Canine statistics concerning injuries and deaths from attacks on humans;
- The effect of Canine predation on wild prey populations;
- The effects of Canines on domestic animals;
- The desirability of and methods of Canine control;
- Canine census methods’ statistical reliability;
- Comprehensive comparisons (biological, social, economic, prosperity, etc.) of settled landscapes and human communities with and without wolves.
Will reveal at least 7 things:
- American Canine disease “research” consists of “dogs as pets”-oriented studies for the benefit of veterinarians, the pet industry and the millions of Americans that “love” their dog and in very many ways revere them as much or more than children. Wolves and coyotes, when treated at all (mostly by government & NGO financed “research” to justify pre-determined outcomes), are characters from a Disney cartoon beloved by all; vilified by a minority, and as pure as Snow White as they wander the countryside bringing back wildflowers, buffalo and eventually a Native Ecosystem everywhere but the cities whose voters put them “out there” and are tickled pink about what is happening. Conversely, nations like Russia and Brazil, publish reams about wild Canines and their role in carrying and spreading diseases of danger to humans, domestic animals and other wild animals.
- Historical and current statistics and records of wolf attacks on humans are either denied as existing, covered up by compliant law enforcement bureaucracies, or blamed on: A. wolves with deformed brains or B. the failure of the victim to behave “properly” when in the presence of wolves.
- Regarding research on the effect of wolves on wild prey in settled landscapes, our august state and federal bureaucrats “in charge of wolves” have created two simultaneous and conflicting scenarios. First, to reinforce urban (naïve) “love” for wolves we are regaled with “research” about how wolves ”balance” the ecosystem (i.e. increase/decrease with the prey du jour; and how they bring “willows back to streambanks”: both of these are hokum since wolves have far more foods to shift to in settled landscapes and if controlling wild ungulates (to “bring back willows”) had any importance, which it does not, simply killing more big game would have done the same thing cheaper, more efficiently, more lasting and generated money for conservation and rural communities to boot. Second, to numb rural outrage over wolves, the same bureaucrats and their allies buy research and tell lies about wolf numbers, prey numbers, dark effects from global warming, the need for more “research” and that the “New Normal” is something “we” all need to get used to because that is the law.
- Regarding the effect of wolves on domestic animals; there are only either controversial effects or no effect. Agriculture Department bureaucrats, farm and ranch organizations, like hunters’ organizations and rural Universities, abandoned rural Americans to the polit56ical correctness of the environmental/animal rights crowd 30 years ago. Domestic animal predation by wolves is caused by “other animals” or the “farmer/rancher’s fault” and is due mostly to “poor husbandry” in lands “where wolves now belong”.
- Canine control methodology has devolved into a morass of ineffective and ludicrous non-lethal methods. Fladry, guard dogs, fences, corrals at night, smell deterrents, 24-hour guards, etc., etc. are all merely costly things wolves intended only as placeboes for rural malcontents and that coyotes and wolves learn to circumvent in a New York nanosecond, especially where no one threatens them when they appear to figure out how to do it. Persistent lethal wolf and coyote controls of numbers and distributions by shooting, trapping, snaring, aerial shooting, denning, etc. are the only methods of control that give relief but they are no longer even mentioned in the literature and the longer the wolf protection lasts, the more expensive and the more difficult it will be to eventually either cull the wolves and keep them culled or to once again exterminate the wolves after some kids or elderly folks are found horribly killed.
- Canine census reliability is notoriously nothing more than a wild guess because determining significant trends much less “counts” of wolves or coyotes are all but impossible, but no one should know that. Why, you ask? Because the esteemed Bureaucrats and their allies use their “knowledge” about wolf numbers (“up 23%”; “5346”, etc.) to bamboozle any rural objections to what is happening in their communities. Who can question the “trend” or the “numbers”? When coupled with big game numbers (“up since last year so we can shoot more does”, or “down since last year due to global warming, the bad winter, ticks, brainworms, etc. anything except wolf predation) the “sportsman”, the rancher, the farmer, the farm mother with schoolkids home alone or with a long walk to the school bus, etc. is disarmed by those wolf advocates disguised as government “biologists”.
- “Comprehensive comparisons of settled landscapes and human communities with and without wolves” do not exist nor will they ever exist in this religious wolf-worship atmosphere that garners votes, power, and money in the millions.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, what does all this have to do with “Prions”? The answer is everything.
What I am about to discuss about “Prions” is pieced together from many sources and many foreign places. It is the most factual explanation I can put together for “Joe Blow” and Rural America.
III. All of the purposeful distortions and censoring of the US Canine “research” literature means that people like urban wolf “lovers”, government bureaucrats, high-paid NGO operators, snake oil drummers like Mike Phillips and even billionaires like his employer (buying up the West and Water Rights as the population recedes and land values drop thanks to things like wolves, grizzlies, etc.) can all say, “What does he know? Is he a Veterinarian or a microbiologist or a disease expert?” All I can say is that I would be glad to discuss, argue or debate this publicly anytime they want.
Wolves and coyotes have identical propensities and abilities to contract, simply carry (as a vector) and infect humans, wild animals and domestic animals with a long list of deadly and disabling diseases and infections. Think of them as dogs without “shots” or a veterinarian hospital nearby (or anyone to take them to it when they sneeze or get a lump on their throat or an infectious sore or some other symptom of sickness). Think of Fido killing and eating the neighbor’s dog or sheep or a deer, or rolling in feces, or gnawing on an old bone he found or licking his anus with tapeworms sticking out, etc.; and then licking your kid or mouthing the baby’s toy or licking your table or jumping into the kid’s bed and you have the wolf and coyote so revered in the city and so loathed in rural precincts. It is one of the greta ironies of modern America that the same soccer Mom that yells for her kids to “get inside” and then calls 911 because one or two unfamiliar stray dogs are running loose in the neighborhood is the very same wolf “lover” and contributor to radical NGO’s and politicians that pay bureaucrats to infest rural Americans with dense and uncontrolled wolf and coyote populations.
Wolves and coyotes differ in one matter. They tend to behave differently as to their lifestyle. Wolves are much more likely to move in packs the year around. Coyotes tend to be more solitary and while they easily form and move in packs, it is usually an ephemeral phenomenon as they usually soon break apart and return to solitary habits. This is important to note because wolves are far more likely to contract and carry diseases and infections because, like bats, they spend day and night the year around nipping; fighting; wrestling; licking; sneezing; swapping saliva; mouthing; sniffing; rolling in each other’s feces, eating each other’s feces and communally eating live, infected, dead, and old meat, offal, garbage etc.. What one gets, the others soon have.
One other lifestyle characteristic is important to note. Although some coyotes will go a distance for food far from a den (often when pups are present), they are more solitary and localized. Wolves on the other hand have much larger home ranges and they will roam far greater distances year around. This means they are exposed to and get into far more wild and domestic animal situations where infectious matter and diseases are present and thereby spread infections over much larger areas routinely. Additionally, when wolves are exposed to infectious matter and disease say in a summer pasture or a wintering ground or farmyard some dark night. They tend to be frequenting such areas at similar times and therefore the CWD on a wintering ground or the Mad Cow or Foot-and-Mouth or anthrax etc. picked up in a certain yard or pasture will tend to be carried repeatedly in a myriad of ways to a similar yard or pasture as the wolves wander looking for beef or elk or deer or sheep in similar locations.
Some diseases like monkey pox, rabies, foot-and-mouth, Hantavirus, distemper and parvovirus are caused by a virus (an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, that is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host) and can be contracted or carried by Canines. Viruses are shed in urine, droppings, and saliva, and humans are infected aerogenically by inhaling the virus or through bites or an open cut touching an infected item thus transmitting the virus to humans or other animals. In the case of a rabies or foot-and-mouth outbreak, one of the first and perhaps most important preventive measure taken is to kill all the mammals possible in the surrounding area. Where wolves are present, this becomes increasingly problematic as the wolves that crossed the pasture last night may not be back in the area for weeks and all the while spreading the contracted disease in similar environments far and wide.
Some diseases and infections like anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, plague, pneumonia, meningitis, cholera, tetanus, Lyme Disease, brucellosis, botulism, and typhoid are caused by bacteria (perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren’t effective against viruses) and can be contracted or carried by wolves and the ticks and fleas the wolves carry about dropping and picking them up over a large area. Bacterial infections or outbreaks such as anthrax that recur in certain Lower 48 State areas emerge from the soil periodically. State laws require that infected carcasses be buried, equipment be cleansed to kill bacteria, and clothes used to handle the carcasses be buried as well. This is because the bacillus can exist for long periods and thus infects whatever it comes in contact with. A recent catastrophe of weaponized anthrax buried in an isolated island in the Aral Sea caused a series of anthrax outbreaks as the waters receded, the island became populated with wolves and the contaminated soil on their bodies spread the anthrax far and wide. Again, killing all mammals in the surrounding area is recommended. But what of the wolf pack that transited the area two nights ago and is now 10 miles away, not to return for weeks? If clothing or equipment are able to transmit the bacillus for a long period; what of the wolf fur, paws, and toes that picked up the bacteria and carried it onward to similar areas far away? What of the infected bodily fluid of dead or infected animals eaten or killed by the wolves? What of items of any sort like the kid’s or Bowser’s “toy” left6 outside and sneezed on or coughed on by infected animals and mouthed or sniffed by wolves? What of infected food or water shared by the pack? What of some item the dog encounters on a walk or run that was mouthed or sneezed or coughed on by an infected wolf? Keep in mind that NONE of this was discussed, much less explained, as the wolves were forcibly inserted and protected in rural America. Where were all those touted “Hearings”, “Environmental Impact Statements” and those nefarious “NEPA Documents”?
Some deadly infections like Neospora caninum, Babesiosis and malaria are caused by protozoans carried by ticks and infecting mammals worldwide. As an example of how “research” is slanted, note the following three explanations of the deadly disease, Neospora caninum:
- From the US Government National Institute of Health:
- “Neospora caninum is a coccidian parasite of animals. It is a major pathogen for cattle and dogs and it occasionally causes clinical infections in horses, goats, sheep, and deer. Domestic dogs are the only known definitive hosts for N. caninum”.
- From the Merck Veterinary Manual (a “global healthcare corp”.):
- “Neospora caninum is a microscopic protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. Many domestic (eg, dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, water buffalo, horses, chickens) and wild and captive animals (eg, deer, rhinoceros, rodents, rabbits, coyotes, wolves, foxes) can be infected”.
- From a dog-friendly/dog care disease list:
- “Canine Neosporosis is a microscopic protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. A disease similar to toxoplasmosis, it attacks animal’s brain and spinal cord and slowly shuts down their body. Neospora caninum is a very deadly parasite that should not be taken lightly. Be aware of your dog’s whereabouts.”
Evidently, this infection is deadly but no one at NIH seems too concerned about wolves and coyotes although their similar morphology and predator role vis a vis Neospora caninum are deadly to a large number of animals and animal owners. Only one of these three sources even mentions wolves and coyotes as vectors of concern. No sources I found emphasized the important role wolves especially would play in contracting and spreading this deadly infection. The danger of wolves as vectors of this infection should be apparent to anyone with rudimentary knowledge of wolves. Mr. Will Graves, author of Wolves of Russia, has tried very hard over the years to get recognition of this danger but the lack of veterinary bona fides has made it easy for wolf advocates to both ignore and disparage his work.
Some infections like heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are endemic in wild Canines and are contracted either through exposure to tiny eggs, infected fleas, walking barefoot through infected soil, sleeping with an infected dog or through mosquitoes. All four of these parasites are probably widespread in wolves and coyotes but as with other things we neither discuss nor study this. The eggs are particularly dangerous to rural Americans where wolves roam in yards, campgrounds and other places in search of food. Research into this area is sorely needed.
All of the foregoing brings us to PRIONS. Prions are proteins that can invade cells and somehow direct their own duplication, making more of the isolated proteins. They are even smaller than viruses.
There are six recognized Animal Prion Diseases:
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
- Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
- Transmissible mink encephalopathy
- Feline spongiform encephalopathy
- Ungulate spongiform encephalopathy
- There are two recognized Human Prion Diseases in the United States. The most common form of human prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), occurs worldwide. Variant CJD (vCJD), a recently emerged human prion disease, is a zoonotic foodborne disorder that occurs almost exclusively in countries with outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Ongoing research indicates that humans will soon be or already are susceptible for a prion infection from all 8 known Prion Diseases.
- For our purposes we will start with the three Prion Diseases that wolves can and are currently exposed to, namely 1.) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) commonly called Mad Cow Disease; 2.) Scrapie (a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which are related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”); and 3,) Chronic Wasting Disease a prion disease of cervids (deer, elk, and moose).
- The 1988 outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in the U.K. was marked by the killing and burial thousands of cattle and untold numbers of wild and other domestic animals. Farmers could not step off their property in work clothes, including rubber work boots without being arrested. Wild and domestic animals were rightly feared to be capable of tracking prions to uncontaminated areas on their fur, paws and in their saliva, nasal discharges and other bodily fluids. If rubber boots can carry BSE prions that are known to remain infectious in soil for years, don’t let anyone laugh when you say wolves transiting a mad Cow or CWD area are not capable of spreading the prions on their fur or between their toes carrying Prion-contaminated dirt.
- Wolves kill and eat the meat and offal of CWD, BSE and Scrapie-infected animals opportunistically. Between killing such animals, eating the meat, eating offal and organs, encountering recently killed and old carcasses and feeding off of them, feeding on scraps laying on Prion-infected soil and generally sniffing and licking the sites of such kills and carcasses; wolves ingest and then poop, sneeze, cough and share with other wolves (through rough housing, playing, breeding and otherwise intermingling) Prion-infected bodily fluids with other wolves.
- It is known that humans eating meat contaminated with either Mad Cow or Scrapie will be fatal to the human within a year. It is suspected that the same is true of CWD tainted meat but this has not been proven to date.
Regarding human susceptibility to all prion diseases, recent studies report Prions and their remarkable propriety of adaptation could be compared with a highly mutagenic virus devoid of species limitation if given enough time and opportunity. Ten years ago the existence of atypical prions was not considered important yet now it is considered to be a common phenomenon affecting all species that are being studied sufficiently. Prion strains are a dynamic biological entity inclined to change and as a consequence of this new strains with distinct virulence and spectra of susceptible hosts are “spontaneously” emerging or adapting after recurrent passage through different hosts. Therefore, it would be unwise to consider any species, even those never reported as susceptible to prion infection, could not become a risk to human health. Because prion diseases are terminal, there are no disease-specific indications for blood monitoring; however, patients should be followed up to make sure their symptoms are being successfully managed.
It is now established that Scrapie and CWD can remain infectious after years in the environment. In one study, the scrapie agent remained infectious after burial in garden soil for three years. In another report, a previously scrapie-infected sheephouse and pasture were ‘decontaminated’ and left uninhabited; sheep introduced 16 years later subsequently contracted scrapie suggesting that scrapie remained infectious after 16 years. A controlled lab study indicated that the CWD agent remained infectious for at least two years in a pasture.
Scientists believe CWD proteins (prions) likely spread between animals through body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. Once introduced into an area or farm, it is contagious within deer and elk populations and can spread quickly. Experts believe CWD can live in the environment for a long time, so other animals can contract CWD from the environment even after an infected deer or elk has died.
Additional studies are under way to identify if any prion diseases could be occurring at a higher rate in people who are at increased risk for contact with potentially CWD-infected deer or elk meat. Because of the long time it takes before any symptoms of disease appear, scientists expect the study to take many years before they will determine what the risk, if any, of CWD is to people. Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.
A concern is that prions of Chronic Wasting Disease could be transmitted to cows grazing in pastures contaminated by cervids. Prions can be detected in deer saliva and feces, and contamination of grass could pass the agent on to cows. In the laboratory, brain homogenates from infected deer can transmit the disease to cows. Therefore it is possible that cervid prions could enter the human food chain through cows. Hunters can remember how some states forbid the importation or export of any big game meat or trophy parts (cape, rack and skull) fearing CWD spread. If the Prions are that dangerous, how dangerous is a wolf eating some in one wintering area and then travelling to and defecating in another wintering area or pasture for that matter. Prions that exist for years, incorporate into plant fodder, and lay in wait in the surface soil for ingestion by a cervid, ungulate or some kid that dropped his candy and ate it anyway or stepped in some large “dog” poop in the yard.
Wolves can and will spread Disease Prions of BSE, CWD and Scrapie far and wide: this is exactly the opposite of what the billionaire’s employee is promising Colorado residents with his “using CWD as a bio weapon to bring wolves into places like CO. and to reduce possible harvest on wolves in states like MT and W so that these wolves can clean up the CWD mess in our ungulates”. Wolves will only make a bad situation much worse just like federal wolf hegemony, that promised only a pack or two where you live, now demands ever more wolves creating ever more havoc throughout rural America.
Lastly, it is my delicious pleasure to answer your question, “It is my understanding that Prions will not be denatured in the digestive tract of wolves or other carnivores and scavengers. Is there some sort of scientific paper or study out there that can explain this process to a Joe Blow?”
Dear “Joe Blow”,
While researching this article I came across something that tickled this old man’s heart. The National Institute of Health published a research paper released in 2015. The paper reports a study conducted at my old Alma Mater, Utah State University, (that no longer recognizes me) at the USDA Research Station situated remote from the Logan campus. It is still evidently staffed by real wildlife researchers examining real wildlife problems. They have answered your question far better that I could. They conducted a study titled “CWD prions remain infectious after passage through the digestive system of coyotes (Canis latrans)”.
Remember how a wolf is a coyote is a dog? Well their findings are well explained in the Abstract that is repeated below (the large bold print and underlining is mine) and ends with the words, “Results from this study indicate that coyotes can pass infectious prions via their feces for at least 3 days post ingestion, demonstrating that mammalian scavengers could contribute to the translocation and contamination of CWD in the environment.Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a geographically expanding prion disease of wild and captive cervids in North America. Disease can be transmitted directly, animal to animal, or indirectly via the environment. CWD contamination can occur residually in the environment via soil, water, and forage following deposition of bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, and feces, or by the decomposition of carcasses. Recent work has indicated that plants may even take up prions into the stems and leaves. When a carcass or gut pile is present in the environment, a large number of avian and mammalian species visit and consume the carrion. Additionally, predators like coyotes, likely select for disease-compromised cervids. Natural cross-species CWD transmission has not been documented, however, passage of infectious prion material has been observed in the feces of crows. In this study we evaluated the ability of CWD-infected brain material to pass through the gastrointestinal tract of coyotes (Canis latrans) following oral ingestion, and be infectious in a cervidized transgenic mouse model. Results from this study indicate that coyotes can pass infectious prions via their feces for at least 3 days post ingestion, demonstrating that mammalian scavengers could contribute to the translocation and contamination of CWD in the environment.
In other words coyotes (and wolves and dogs) will not only spread any CWD, BSE or Scrapie problem they encounter from Prions on their fur; or in their blood, saliva, mucous, etc.; this study documents (“a coyote is a wolf is a dog”) that for three days they will be contaminating soil, plants and random items with Prions in their feces as they wander! Forget not too that dogs (“Fido is a coyote is a wolf”) are known to eat canine feces when bits of undigested meat are present. Wolves indiscriminately spread CWD, BSE and Scrapie like Typhoid Mary spread typhoid in New York for years! So anyone saying anything else and especially anyone vile enough to sell wolves as a Prion Disease remedy (for money?, for fame?, for infamy??) is no more than an amoral drummer selling patented snake oil that he hopes won’t kill some customers before he can beat it out of town. Tell all those gullible “sportsmen”, they should be ashamed for not only believing him but also those craven state and federal bureaucrats, those poseur “Sportsman” NGO’s and those self-serving academics that allow representatives of rich billionaires with hidden agendas to foist such an outrageous proposition on rural Americans with all its dangers and costs without any repudiation or exposure.