Research Grant Money Drives Academia to Ignore Prevention, In Favor of Finding a “Cure”
by William Gehm
Bismuth, antibiotics, and propylene glycol are not commonly thought of when identifying the ingredients in a glass of milk. One certainly does not want to entertain the thought of tens of millions of somatic cells, effectively puss, that are the result of a bacterial infection of the udder. Unfortunately nature’s perfect food is engaged in an epoch battle with mastitis, a simple bacterial infection. This battle drives desperate dairy farmers to turn to products directed at treating the symptoms of the disease.
Ticking Time Bomb of Mastitis Will Greatly Harm Farmers and Dairy Consumers
Mastitis is nothing new. It has become so problematic that it has evolved numerous issues:
• Productive life of dairy cows has been reduced to about 2 years. NASS data reveals culling has doubled to nearly 50% in the past 40 years.
• About 20% of the U.S. beef supply is now spent dairy cows. Their grain intensive diet results in an acid tolerant E-coli responsible for human illness from contaminated beef.
• Abusive milking equipment destroys natural teat canal defenses leading to mastitis and ultimately permanently deformed udders with one or more quarters no longer functional.
• Products aimed at reducing symptoms pollute the milk.
The true tragedy of the situation is the collective thought process of veterinarians and universities claiming that the problem is solely a bacterial one requiring proper management practices. This blame-the-farmer mentality has produced thousands of research projects culminating in a growing food quality problem described as a ticking time-bomb by a veterinarian with Animal Health Ireland. The momentum behind this failed thought process is large corporations supplying chemicals, hormones and antibiotics to dairy farmers struggling to minimize the problem while universities capitalize on research dollars.
The Journal of Dairy Science reported that milk contaminated with bismuth used to seal damaged teat canals causes black spot defect in cheddar cheese. A more recent potential contaminant is an udder cream with propylene glycol designed to penetrate the udder reducing somatic cells in milk leaving the product to be flushed out in the milk.
Huge Herds Contribute to the Problems in Milk Quality
Growth in herd sizes driven by technology and economic pressures has worsened the problem, diminished milk quality and turned dairy cows into an expendable commodity. The typical dairy cow experiences one clinical infection per lactation with many suffering complete loss of function in one quarter within two lactations. The frequency of infections and high cull rates are giving rise to concerns for MRSA in milk and for increased incidence of food borne illnesses. In July 2000, thousands of Japanese consumers were sickened by Staph aureus contaminated dairy products. Staph aureus is a form of contagious mastitis that is recognized world-wide as one of the most prevalent and difficult to control infections and representing over 14% of infections based on Cornell University data.
Farmers Can Stop Mastitis with Better Milking Equipment
The CoPulsation tm Milking System developed and marketed by LR Gehm LLC has been scientifically proven in a Cornell University study to virtually eliminate new Staph aureus infections by 93% compared to convention milking machines. This remarkable achievement is disparaged by Cornell as they fraudulently inform dairy farmers that it makes no difference. Their basis is that this innovative milking system does not cure existing infections. This is analogous to discovering a drug that prevents cancer but cannot cure existing cases and subsequently declaring it useless while continuing to obtain funding for more research to prevent cancer.
Treating Cows Humanely, Vastly Improves Safety of Milk
The farmers using this milking system discover that the reduced pain of the milking process results in calm cows that no longer defecate in fear of pain upon entering the milking facility. The cows no longer leak milk from teats having been scared by conventional milking systems and produce greatly improved milk quality. The family and owner of one 1300 cow dairy now actually drinks their own raw milk due to the quality improvements.
William Gehm was raised on a 70 cow dairy farm and consumed raw milk daily until his father retired from farming. He obtained a B.S. in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University. His early career was as a Laser Physicist followed by numerous years leading teams of engineers designing mechanical packaging for aerospace engine and flight controls. Throughout that time period his father operated a small dairy farm and battled mastitis and the associated failings of the universities in addressing this costly problem. It was his frustrations with veterinarians and universities blaming dairy farmers for unacceptable milking performance and poor milk quality delivered by conventional milking machines that drove him to research and develop an innovative milking system. The success of that product evolved into a company marketing innovative dairy equipment products worldwide. The focus remains on enabling dairy farmers to be successful in providing quality milk while milking cows in a humane manner to increase their productive life.
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