Bison do not get mad cow disease

A gentleman phoned to tell me that bison do not get that disease

I am writing to correct an error in the letter I wrote about farming salmon in isolation from wild salmon, which I still think is vital to the health of both wild and farmed fish.

In that letter I referred to bison in Wood Bison National Park as having acquired “Mad cow” disease from cattle ranches. A gentleman phoned to tell me that bison do not get that disease, and when I searched again I was unable to re-locate the reference that originally seemed to confirm my memory of reading about it some years ago, so I conclude that I was wrong.

However, Bison do get brucellosis, judging by a number of articles that Google listed, which one reference surmised had spread from domestic cattle. That has been largely eliminated, initially by killing diseased bison, and later be vaccination.

In my recent search I was startled and embarrassed to find that typing “bison” and Mad Cow” into Google turned up my letters to the local papers at the ‘head of the class’!! I was startled to find that our local papers were so quickly caught in Google’s net, and embarrassed to have my errors so publicized.

Doug Millar

Campbell River

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