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IDFG & Wildlife Disease

Pesticides destroy soil microbiology.  Why has this not been a focus as it has been in other prion studies?


IDFG & Wildlife Disease

By Karen Schumacher

Tremendous dichotomies exist with land management.  Money pours in for forest fire prevention while at the same time forests are allowed to become burdened with fuel loads that only act as incinerators.  “We let forests burn” is an insane ideology.  Fires destroy the habitat environmentalists crusade to protect.  The introduction of wolves has resulted in the loss of wildlife, one issue environmentalists champion for protection.  Renewable energy is one of the most damaging to the environment under the guise of protecting it.  One doozy of a dichotomy exists with Elk and Deer.  Are potential causes of disease in these majestic animals being ignored or dismissed for a reason?

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease affecting Elk, Deer, Moose, and other wildlife, where the animal experiences neurological deterioration.  It first appeared at Slate Creek in Idaho County, November 2021.  Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) claims CWD is a Prion disease, a malformed protein that enters the brain, with no understanding of “how it is spread”.  But the actions they are taking to minimize the spread, which speak louder than their words, suggest they believe it is spread by direct contact.

The animal eventually wastes away from a poor immune response, starvation, and weakness.  IDFG focuses on minimizing its spread and developed a strategy in 2021 that includes surveillance and monitoring with the help of hunters, along with “cutting deer density to reduce CWD risk”. 
Elk Hoof Disease (EHD) was also discovered in Idaho County in 2018.  This disease is blamed on a Treponema spirochete bacterium that is suspected to cause hoof abnormalities and lameness in elk, leading to poor health and death.  It was recently discovered that it is spread by “exposure to soil contaminated with hooves from affected elk”.  Drawing this conclusion, however, is problematic as this study gave limited consideration to other soil or environmental factors, failed to use pesticide contaminated soil, artificially created a condition with an overabundance of a pathogen, and wrapped the Elk’s hooves in inoculation, creating an environment that would not be found on Elk in the wild.  This map shows where EHD has been discovered in the Pacific Northwest.

While Prion and Treponema have nothing to do with each other, what IDFG is failing to consider is soil health and how that may be contributing to the spread of both diseases.  Why would they ignore that possibility?

Idaho has a Noxious Weed program for invasive species in which IDFG participates because of its invasion into Elk forage.  Biological treatment is emphasized for elimination of these weeds however, “chemical treatment is the most common option where feasible“.  IDFG, however, is rather secretive about what chemicals they use.  The US Forest Service also has a Pesticide Management program that does not identify what chemicals are used.

Commonly used pesticide agents include Glyphosate, Atrazine, 2,4-D, and Milestone.  It is well known that these chemicals destroy everything in their path and have toxic effects to humans.  One hypothesis is that these chemicals also cause EHD.  Atrazine is particularly devastating to the immune system.  Other contributing pesticides to EHD and CWD are Sulfonylurea and Diuron as both can inhibit microbial activity in the soil.  Overall, these chemicals not only destroy Elk forage, they also have a damaging effect on soil health.  While many variables determine how long pesticides remain in the soil, they can persist up to a decade.

Manganese is “an essential human dietary element” found in soil and plants.  Manganese deficiency can lead to gut and immune dysfunction, and has a relationship to Prion disease.  Studies have shown that Glyphosate depletes Manganese in plantsSelenium, another trace element in soil necessary for plant development, is also dependent on soil microorganisms and cannot be easily applied to soil.  Its depletion in soil has also been associated with deteriorating animal health by disrupting a healthy immune system, again suggestive of CWD, and in hoof deformities.  Chemical spraying, and its adverse impact on soil, does appear to be a common source for both diseases, yet it has not been adequately researched.

At hand is the lack of consideration that pesticides not only kill noxious weeds, but also destroy living organisms in the  soil that maintains its health.  In fact, the same corporations that produce pesticides are touting their investments in soil health, while claiming that poor soil health is from climate change.  But the truth is they destroy the soil in order to put forward profit making solutions.

To the rescue is lucrative corporate markets that create products to fix the problems they create.  Corporations have even hijacked associations to advance their cause. 

Syngenta products include herbicides, and through its Biologicals, and its partner Valagro, sells products to fix the damage they cause as part of its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  Brexil Combi, made by Valagro, contains a Manganese replacement

Monsanto, producer of Glysophate products, was bought by Bayer in 2016.  As was Monsanto, both Syngenta and Bayer are World Economic Forum (WEF) partners.  Along with its government pals, Bayer has declared Glyphosate as safe, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  Bayer also blames climate change and loss of biodiversity as a problem while having several products that actually destroy biodiversity, and is being fined for its false safety claims.  Corteva, a descendant of DuPont, produces Milestone.  Called Aminopyralid, it is a pesticide that tends to remain in the soil and carry over and damage new growth.

Could ruined soil be the planned precursor to invest in “microbial-based solutions“, or completely revamp soil composition, all the while messing around with RNA genetics and engineering soil microorganisms?

Like everything else going on right now, corporations have their own misinformation (let’s call it what it is, lying) campaign that using less pesticides would contribute to the global climate crisis.  While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting up a front to address the pesticide problem, it is a partner with the same cabal that corporations are tied to.  In the EPA’s interest to protect corporations, the whole federal government is similarly involved, including the US Forest Service, but were finally forced to admit ecological damage from these products.  Don’t touch their products that destroy the land as that would in turn destroy their self-created markets that will fix it!  And these corporations are not afraid to give dictates to the government.  The corruption is so widespread a book has even been written about it.

Thus the dichotomy.  Corporations use destructive means to destroy the environment while claiming it adds to food production, and lay blame on climate change in order to enrich their own profits.  Through the use of chemicals the soil is destroyed, wildlife movement through the chemically contaminated soil can spread it to other areas while being exposed to an overgrowth of invasive bacterium that cause disease and possibly eating the sprayed forage along the way, soil is being depleted of necessary nutrients for life, and the land then becomes a haven for disease.  Wildlife loss is of no concern to them and warnings about the dangers of these products would logically be the same for wildlife.  Could it be Elk are actually spreading the cause of the problem rather than the disease itself?  Pesticides destroy soil microbiology.  Why has this not been a focus as it has been in other prion studies?

In Idaho County where CWD and EHD were found, there is a noxious weed problem with Yellow Starthistle.  While biocontrol methods have been tried they aren’t successful in controlling the problem and in addition to other areas in the state. chemical spraying is used, Glyphosate and Aminopyralid being the most effective.  Oddly, cattle, sheep, and goat grazing are not used to address this weed problem.  Cheatgrass is another noxious weed where Yellow Starthistle is found, and is controlled with spraying.  Again, cattle grazing is not used to contain this weed.

Corporations that produce these pesticides wield quite a bit of influence over the government.  If IDFG were to challenge the use of pesticides as the causal factor in CWD and EHD, what wrath would they experience from these corporations?  Would the idea of investigating this correlation be enough to bring threats of retaliation by the corporate world?  Or are they under the same oppression as others have been when corporations are challenged?

In order to save and protect Elk that are suffering from these diseases, IDFG must embark upon more studies into the correlation between spraying devastating chemicals and how it affects these animals.  Pressure must be brought to bear on all agencies that use these practices until such time they study the cause and effect between pesticides and the health of wildlife.  Contact your local IDFG Regional Office here and ask where comments can be made, or provide comments to any one of the IDFG Commissioners here

While this does not solve the problem pesticides cause in wildlife disease, it does give an indication that the corporate methodology is the same.  Destroy something and blame it on climate change, then create the costly solution to fix it, while suppressing the ability to expose the truth.  It cannot be denied the negative impact these chemicals have on both the land and in wildlife.