More reporting about the bighorn/domestic sheep disease study
Other than the study itself, this is the first time that I’ve heard Dr. Srikmaran talk about last year’s study which confirms that domestic sheep diseases kill bighorn sheep.
“I am not that happy about this finding. Some people’s livelihood depends on domestic sheep,” [But the] “organisms did not exist anywhere else. They could only come from one place, the domestic sheep.” – Dr. Subramaniam Srikmaran
Some people who support the sheep industry have made misrepresentations of what the study actually says. They say that “these data show that even extended fence line contact of 2 months didn’t lead to disease and death. Disease required co-mingling for a minimum of 48 hours and this was after transmission had already occurred in three of the bighorn sheep.”
I’ve had the chance to read the study and, in fact, it does not say that it took two days of commingling to produce disease. It says that one of the sheep died within two days of the beginning of commingling portion of the experiment. All four of the bighorn sheep, even the one which did not contract M. haemolytica during the fenceline portion of the study died within 9 days of the beginning of the commingling portion of the study. There is no evidence to support the claim that “disease required co-mingling for a minimum of 48 hours”.
The study even says that:
“It is conceivable that the bighorn sheep that acquired the tagged M. haemolytica during the fence-line contact would have died even without commingling with the domestic sheep.”
Furthermore, there is no evidence that “if left at fence-line contact the bighorn sheep would have developed immunity instead of disease”. The study actually states the opposite may be true:
“This notion is supported by the fact that one bighorn died only 2 days after commingling with the domestic sheep.”
It’s almost as if the sheep industry wants us to believe that these pathogens just appear out of nowhere as postulated by the theory of spontaneous generation. These pathogens don’t just live in the dirt and spring forth to cause disease, they must have a host and that host is domestic sheep and goats.
The story also has a short video of a coughing bighorn sheep.
New Evidence: Disease Jumps From Domestic to Wild Sheep
Oregon Field Guide.