mad sheep disease

Blah blah blah, eating sheep and goats will make your brains melt out your ears, but what I really enjoyed was this quote:

The move threatens to derail a new offensive from the Prince of Wales to bring about a renaissance in mutton eating.

"The Prince of Wales is such a keen supporter for the revival in mutton I am sure he will be among the first to put out the message that people should keep potential risks in proportion and keep eating mutton."

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28 Responses:

  1. benchilada says:

    Why do I know about all this weird shit?

    Poor Tongans.

    But, hey, they have a big party and eat crazydelicious worms things that only appear on their shore once a year and do not keep for even 24 hours...

  2. ammutbite says:

    I wish Swift's "A Modest Proposal" would get Prince Charles' attention and support. Mmmmm, Irish babies.....:)

  3. gutbloom says:

    I ate a lot of mutton when I lived on the Navajo Nation. When I was out there I wondered why we don't eat mutton.

    I think the answer is that it's pretty hard to digest. Lamb is easier on the stomach.

  4. carbonunit says:

    I might be able to shed some light on that.

    In the states I believe you eat a lot of beef but very little sheep of any kind.

    In the UK and Australia we eat a lot of "lamb", which is of course young sheep, but not much "mutton", which is older sheep. The reason for this is that originally lamb was a special luxury, and with rising social afluence the demand always outstrip that for mutton, seen as lower class and coursely flavoured. Mutton is much stronger tasting than lamb, but when you realise most lamb dishes involve inserting tons of garlic and rosemary and other strong spices into the meat to try and give it some flavour you have to ask, why not eat mutton? It's hard to find mutton anywhere nowadays, and it's usually much cheaper than lamb, and lower in fat. Roast mutton used to be a staple dish in both countries. Tastes like goat, cheaper than chicken!

    • gutbloom says:

      Tastes like goat, cheaper than chicken!

      I'm sold, and happy that our grim meathook future might include mutton.

      I want to be a de'Medici of the mutton renaissance.

    • belgand says:

      Man, I really want some mutton now. Goat is delicious, but a complete pain in the ass to find out here normally. Since the local college has a very strong agricultural program and they sell meat on campus they actually had some goat for sale a while back except it was unreasonably expensive, at least in my opinion. I think they wanted something like $6/lb.

      The lack of lamb in the US is something that has often bothered me. I don't think it has anything to do with lack of demand, but more with the fact that lamb is often relatively expensive over here due to (presumably) fewer sheep being raised.

      Then again I'm also pissed that we have so many damn chickens, but duck is so expensive when I seems to me that raising ducks wouldn't be that big of a difference.

  5. basal_surge says:

    It's not really a problem if you avoid eating the spinal and brain tissues.

    • jwz says:

      Maybe sheep are different, but that's certainly not the case for cows. Apparently part of the process of slaughtering cows involves cutting them down the middle, which means leaking the spine all over everything.

      • basal_surge says:

        Well, butchering any animal of sheep or larger size, the advent of power tools and modern saws has made it easy to cut vertically down the spine for dividing the animal in bits. (I use a hacksaw for sheep, or a bandsaw, but a chainsaw for cattle, red deer, wapiti, etc - clean carefully afterwards.) There's not that much spinal fluid, most of it drains downwards after severing the head and ends up on the abatoir floor, well before the beast is split. When splitting, it's not a case of splatterage, as it's pretty well drained by the time I cut. Your saw produces minced bone/marrow/spinal cord paste, but most of that goes on your cutting instrument, and on the cut surfaces of bone, not on the meat. May be a risk if you obsessively suck on the cut spinal surface of a mutton chop, but few do this.

        I'm lucky enough to live in a scrapie-free country, but grew up farming sheep and understanding all their pathologies, including the ones they didn't have, just in case. I've not heard of scrapie, standard or otherwise, being transmissable to humans, and I'd suspect any risk is from highly processed, mechancially recovered meat products (because that's where a lot of the nervous tissue ends up), not from most muscle or organ meats.

        Currently, humans have their own spongiform encephalopathy, CJD or Kuru (if you're a Papuan ritual cannibal), plus BSE-derived CJD. Unless you're regularly into eating nervous tissues, brains, eyes, etc, you've got more chance of being run down by a number nine bus.

    • carbonunit says:

      What? No more mutton-neck soup? Lamb chops with fatty little rounds of cord in the bone? Sheeps brains poached in milk? Oh fie!

      I wonder if pressure cooking would destroy the prions?

      • kaneda_khan says:

        "The TSE agents are extremely resistant to heat, ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, normal sterilization processes, and common disinfectants that normally inactivate viruses and bacteria." Scary shit. If the prion theory is right, you'd have to break every single protein molecule back down to amino acids; this might still be indistinguishable from magic (or a blowtorch).

        • belgand says:

          Scary as fuck indeed. Although speaking of scary things learned from virology classes the worst was probably that an incredibly large portion of the population currently have type I herpes (i.e. cold sores) and since the method of the virus acting is to hide in the nerve and travel each time for outbreaks it can sometimes go the other way and travel up into your brain. This is typically fatal in most cases and there's more or less nothing you can do to prevent it. Wikipedia has a short blurb about it that more or less says the same things, but they have more numbers and bigger, more scientific words.

    • luserspaz says:

      Really? I thought the big deal from the whole "Mad Cow" thing was the fact that they had been feeding ground up dead cows to other cows.

      • basal_surge says:

        Yeah. However, the concern here is a new variant scrapie in sheep, and they're no longer using much bone meal. There's always a background level of scrapie/bse in animals that develop the mutation naturally, so if you avoid making hamburgers and salami out of mechanically recovered meat (lips, hooves, ears and arseholes, essentially), you lower the possibility of including nervous tissue containing prions getting into our foodchain.

        Seeing as I've confined my beef-eating to animals raised in the southern hemisphere where we were not dumb enough to use the stupidly obvious disease vector of feeding cows to other cows, I'm probably fine. There is a slight possibility that BSE got down here with bovine semen imports from europe for artificial insemination, but we haven't seen it yet - this would still be only a few animals, and without the re-feeding of their bonemeal to further animals, it's growth within the cattle population would be limited.

  6. quercus says:

    I really don't want to think about Prince Charles' mutton-eating habits.

  7. spudtater says:

    Luckily, Prince Charles is immune from brain-wasting diseases, having been born without a discernable brain. The monarchy is safe!