Categories: Wildlife

Leprosy and Mad Cow Disease in Texas Animals-That People Eat!

Over the years I have eaten many things the general public would consider strange.

From rattlesnake to water buffalo my mind has always been open about the wide variety of unique meats available to those who hunt and fish.

There are a few things however I would not try for any reason. Squirrel brains are something many people enjoy but that will never be part of my diet.

First off, a squirrel is basically a rat with a cuter face and prettier tail. It is one thing to eat their meat but their brains is another issue and the fact is there could be good reason to avoid them.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky are concerned there is a link between “mad cow disease” and eating squirrel brains.

“While conducting a study of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in south Florida, one of us observed an affected patient who was originally a native of Kentucky and had a history of eating squirrel brains.”

“…Several case reports have suggested the possibility of transmission of CJD by consumption of brains of wild animals.”

Armadillo is another one that is off-limits for this writer. In fact, they fall into the category of would not eat for any reason ever.

Although numerous people have touted the great taste of armadillo, there are a couple of problems.

  1. They stink worse than a feral hog.
  2. They carry leprosy.

Yes, they have been proven to carry leprosy.

In a joint collaboration between the Global Health Institute at EPFL in Switzerland and Louisiana State University, “clear evidence was found that a never-before-seen strain of Mycobacterium leprae (leprosy) has emerged in the Southern United States and that it is transmitted through contact with armadillos carrying the disease.”

The results were published in the April 28th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers suggested frequent direct contact (handling)  armadillos and cooking and consumption of armadillo meat should be “discouraged.”

This goes along with a story we ran in TFG Magazine that showed up to one in six armadillos on the Texas and Louisiana coasts harbor leprosy.

This does not mean you should go out and kill every armadillo you see. However, it should inspire everyone to allow scratch armadillo off the grocery list permanently.

On a far less sinister note, while researching this article a recipe for opossum roast with liver turned up. The recipe is very involved and would take a great while to prepare.

In fact it looks like something that would air on the Food Network, minus the opossum of course.

I could not however see celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay or Giada de Laurentis touting the palatability of opossum. It may very well taste good (I will never know) but it would likely sink their careers forever.

My wife and I are big fans of Giada and as amazing as her Italian dishes look, a parmesan-crusted opossum somehow just would not seem right.

Chester Moore, Jr.





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