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Mastitis Breakthrough Dismissed by Major University

Creative Commons License photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik

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.

To learn more about this breakthrough product, visit my Copulsation website. I have also put up a site about the Cornell Dairy Research, and a consumer site called Udderlybettermilk.com.

William Gehm

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.

This post is part of the Natural Cures Blog Carnival that appears here most Tuesdays. If you have a natural cure or a prevention idea for farmers, please share it with our readers. See instructions on how to participate on our Natural Cures page.

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  1. I found the following to be odd:

    The family and owner of one 1300 cow dairy now actually drinks their own raw milk due to the quality improvements

    Am I being naive to think that all dairy farmers should be drinking their own milk? I grew up on a dairy farm in Ireland and it was the standard practice - it’s already there, just go get some out of the tank.

  2. Stanley Fishman says:

    This blog highlights one of the most shameful aspects of our society - that the very institutions we trust to come up with solutions never solve anything - because, if they solved the problem, they would lose their funding.

  3. Thank you for the information on the new milking systems. We will look into them. We are very small dairy farmers who milk our 100 % grass-fed herd seasonally.

    I have to question the notion that milking machines cause pain. Our cows only defecate in the milking barn their first time or two ever being milked. It is a reaction to the “newness” of it all. After that all is clean and calm.

    The cows leak milk from their teats in anticipation of being milked. Their milk is “letting down”. Any mother who has nursed a baby knows this reaction all too well and it is not caused by being scared.

    Thanks for all of the information!

  4. It is noteworthy that the Cornell authors biased the study against CoPulsation™. The bias is addressed at CornellDairyResearch.com. The initial “random” segregation of cows resulted in 15 infections assigned to CoPulsation™ with only 9 to the conventional group and all 5 Staph aureus infections assigned to CoPulsation™. The one author admits to making “ingenious modifications” to the used (not new as falsely claimed) CoPulsation™ system tested to get it installed in their university facility and refuses to release the data supporting the study. This is not the first time Cornell has engaged in research fraud. Cornell research into stray voltage effects on dairy cows in the 90’s was proven fully fraudulent by Dr. Michael Behr. Prior to Behr revealing the truth, Cornell staff armed with fraudulent data aided public utilities in defeating dairy farmer litigation raised against utilities responsible for the stray voltage and resulting significant losses in cows and milk.

    We routinely enjoyed fresh milk from the bulk tank on my father’s farm. I had also assumed that all dairy farmers did the same but discovered that many do not consume their own raw milk.

    Cows will leak milk just prior to milking in anticipation/need of milking. The issue is that many continue to leak milk after the machine is removed due to inadequate milk out and teat canal damage. There is a noticeable difference in parlor cleanliness when the cows are milked with a machine providing a gentle and comfortable milking action. The difference can be readily demonstrated with ones fingers in the liner of a milking machine to compare the pinch and sucking of a conventional machine to the gentle compressive massage of CoPulsation™.

  5. Having been associated with a major agricultural university for many years, both as student, faculty and staff, I can tell you that higher ed is only a business. The faculty are not interested in teaching, only in their research grants and book contracts. And what organizations/companies can afford to offer the grants? And if the major ag companies dont get the results that they want, will they offer the grants again?

    Of course there are those dedicated professors who love their students, but they are few. Judge from the amount of general education courses that students have to take- and for what, to be well rounded? How about being well-grounded in the chose fields? Many college grads are struggling to find a job.

  6. This is a great expose on one of the many crippled institutions in our society. Great post, Kimberly! I tweeted this and Stumbled it. Thanks much for this important information!
    .-= Raine Saunders´s last blog ..Our Relationship To Food, And What That Means In The Modern World – Resolutions to Commit to Sustainability =-.

  7. Patricia Simon says:

    “A simple, non-invasive way to cure mastitis in human females is to apply a vibrator to the lumps. Within a few hours and often much less time, the blockages can be reduced and the pain, fever, suffering, and inflammation go away. I learned this about 18 years ago from a midwife/friend after trying hot compresses, allopathic drugs, you name it…. For me, it was a miracle of sorts and a welcome balm to many days of major pain and discomfort. Using non-invasive methods to alleviate inflammation and pain in humans and animals and are always welcome in the world. Perhaps this could be used for cows! “

    Patricia Simon
    Seattle, Washington

  8. Hello,

    I saw your natural cures carnival and would love to participate, I’m not sure if it’s a guest post or a link, but I have a link to a post I did on natural cures for mastitis, which worked way better than antibiotics! Now I try natural cures first!


    .-= Cara Faus´s last blog ..Simple Pleasures: Handmade Soap =-.

  9. Contrary to your claims, many of the professors I have met stress that using treatments are only a small part of managing mastitis in a herd. The dairy specialists that I have worked with teach that managing the cattle to prevent mastitis is better than attempting to cure it. Perhaps there are some researchers that lean toward the use of products to cure existing infections, but the people that actually disseminate information for on-farm application emphasize prevention measures, since they are more economical. This post reads more like an advertisement for the milking equipment than anything else.


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