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Dairy Industry Responds to Bovine Leukemia Virus in Breast Cancer

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What was the response to the revelation that as many as 37 % of breast most cancers instances could also be attributed to publicity to bovine leukemia virus (BLV), a cancer-causing cow virus discovered in the milk of almost each dairy herd in the United States? I talk about this challenge in my video Industry Response to Bovine Leukemia Virus in Breast Cancer. The trade identified that some girls with out breast most cancers harbored the virus, too. Indeed, BLV was discovered in the tissues of 29 % of girls who didn’t have breast most cancers, a discovering the researchers replied “is not surprising considering the long latency period of breast cancer…” In different phrases, they could not have breast most cancers but.

It can take many years earlier than a breast tumor will be picked up on mammography. So, despite the fact that folks could also be harboring this virus in their breast and feeling completely nice, the most cancers should still be on its means. That’s how different cancer-causing deltaretroviruses seem to work. These viruses could make proteins that intervene with our DNA restore mechanisms. Infected cells are then extra prone to carcinogens and slowly accumulate mutations over time. “Therefore, evidence of BLV in normal breast tissues prior to premalignant and malignant changes would be expected.” This sample is what we see with cervical most cancers, “in which the causative virus (HPV) is found not only in the malignant [cancerous] tissue, but also in premalignant dysplastic areas [the precancerous tissue] and in normal tissue adjacent to the malignant tumor.”

If BLV, a retrovirus, is absolutely inflicting 1000’s of instances of breast most cancers yearly, wouldn’t a few of the anti-retroviral therapies like a few of the AIDS medication have the option to counter it? Perhaps, but it surely’s finest not to get contaminated in the primary place.

However, the agriculture trade appeared to be extra involved about client confidence in U.S. dairy than client most cancers. Indeed, the “U.S. dairy industry face[d] a brewing public-relations brouhaha,” and it grew to become “concerned about the possibility of eventual mandatory control of these diseases in dairy cattle along with public perception and an impact on the consumption of dairy products.” What would management seem like? BLV is a blood-borne virus, however how is it unfold? Is Bessie sharing soiled needles? In a way, sure: “[B]lood (and BLV virus) is readily spread from animal to animal with blood contaminated needles and/or syringes, obstetrical sleeves, saw or gouge dehorners, tattoo pliers, ear taggers, hoof knives, nose tongs,” and different devices that aren’t disinfected between animals. So, for instance, when farmers are gouging or sawing on the cows’ heads throughout dehorning, “they are likely to drive blood into the next animal during the subsequent dehorning process.” Or, after they’re sticking their arms into cows’ rectums for synthetic insemination, it’s not unusual for there to be rectal bleeding—then they only go from one cow to the subsequent.

More than 20 international locations have efficiently eradicated BLV from their herds by altering their practices, whereas it stays an epidemic in the United States in half as a result of we’re not cleansing and disinfecting blood-contaminated gear for issues like “supernumerary teat removal,” which is finished as a result of “the presence of extra teats detracts from the beauty of the cow.” Supernumerary teats are eliminated by pulling them from the udder and slicing them off with a pair of scissors. Those scissors had higher be clear—in any other case they might unfold BLV from calf to calf and in the end to somebody’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Of course, we might simply not slice off their teats in any respect, however then how would we “improve udder appearance?”


Up to 37 % of breast most cancers instances are attributable to publicity to bovine leukemia virus? See my video The Role of Bovine Leukemia Virus in Breast Cancer and its prequel, Is Bovine Leukemia Virus in Milk Infectious?.

The meat and dairy industries’ intransigence in the face of a human health menace jogs my memory of the antibiotics and steroids points—persevering with to place the general public in danger to save a couple of dollars. See, for instance, Antibiotics: Agribusinesses’ Pound of Flesh and Zeranol Use in Meat and Breast Cancer.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

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