April 25, 2009

Carcass disposal in Europe. Feed the starving vultures.

"Environmentalists describe the birds as 'nature's cleaners.' But many vultures have been starving to death since European rules aimed at tackling mad cow disease forced all dead livestock to [be] cleared away. This forced the birds to embark on some rather long-haul trips - one was even spotted recently perched on top of a bus shelter in Brussels."

Oh! A vulture on a bus shelter in Brussels! Well, then, screw the human beings and their fussy worries about the spongiform degeneration of their brains.

21 comments:

rhhardin said...

Turkey vultures watch children playing hoping that one will die.

Mr. Forward said...

If you're on a bus in Brussels

And you are a tasty little sprout

When you reach your destination

Warning! DON'T GET OUT!!

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Do vultures eat dead vultures? Is that considered some kind of necrotic cannibalism? Or some ever-tightening circle of death?

Peter V. Bella said...

Vultures? Hmmmm. US politicians touring Europe?

jayne_cobb said...

The Outlaw Josey Wales

-Jamie: I wish we had time to bury them fellas.

-Josey Wales: To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms.




Sorry, but someone had to post the quote.

EDH said...

A consequence of government regulation, a lost generation of emotionally stunted vultures.

(Yea, I know it's called a buzzard, but it looks more like a vulture.)

MadisonMan said...

Carcass disposal, and then right below is a picture of althouse and a dog on the ground, waiting.

John Burgess said...

If there were any evidence that Mad Cow disease were transmittable by vultures/buzzards, then there might be a debating point.

As viruses and (so far as we know, prions) generally tend to not pass species barriers--and particularly genus barriers--then it should be just fine for vultures to dine at will.

Now, cast a sad eye on the plight of India's Parsis whose Towers of Silence are being polluted through the lack of vultures. Something is killing off India's airborne ground cleaners and leaving the dead Parsis uneaten.

Kylos said...

Actually, vultures can help prevent the spread of disease. They are immune to botulism, anthrax, and cholera. They clean the disease carrying tissue from the carcass. I don't know of the effects of mad cow disease on vultures, but in many cases, letting vultures clean the remains is the most cost effective way of handling a carcass.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Central Florida is absolutely stiff with vultures. I passed a gaggle of them by the side of the road just this morning. "Gag-gle" is surely the right word for an aggregate of vultures, isn't it?

Once my husband saw a bunch of them descend on a dead possum or something in the street, and lift it onto the sidewalk so they could eat it at leisure.

Kylos said...

John, a 2006 New Scientist article says that diclofenac, given to sick cattle to keep them working longer, is poisoning the vultures. Apparently, it's been banned in India, but is still commonly used.

Kylos said...

Additionally, the loss of vultures has caused an increase in the feral dog population, who are replacing the vultures scavenging role. But feral dogs interact with humans much more frequently than vultures, and have caused an increase in the number of rabies cases in India.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Environmentalists believe in science...right, garage mahal?

David said...

City folks are such wimps. Here in the benighted boonies there are all sorts of critters dying every day. The vultures keep the area pretty well cleaned up though. Hundreds of vultures. Huge suckers.

Cedarford said...

rhhardin - Turkey vultures watch children playing hoping that one will dieSomething to love about vultures, then. Since the Nanny State proposes controlling every aspect of our lives "For the Children! For the sake of The Children!!" it is so refreshing to know that something exists that only sees them as a potential food source.

In fairness to vultures, crows, buzzards, carrion beetles and so on - they hope to see anything dead or dying as they fly about. Not just tender, rotting in the sun, little tykes..

Seriously, scavanger populations have a valuable role and we need to ensure human practices encourage them to maintain "healthy numbers". We hurt that with our practices of burying large dead animals to knock down smell (while tainting drinking water in some circumstances). We hurt that with allowing alien scavangers like seagulls 1500 miles inland to feast and reproduce at garbage dumps then foray out and take away naturally occuring predator's food supply.
And we almost wiped out the Condor with poison meant for coyotes and lead shot left in carcass remains.

In Europe, they have to rethink being "soooo tidy" they threaten scavanger species.

jimbino said...

I find it interesting to contemplate the fact that, except for human intervention, animals generally get eaten when dead or even near-dead.

It takes a human to make death and decay into a sacrament along with proper and improper ways to experience them.

jaed said...

If there were any evidence that Mad Cow disease were transmittable by vultures/buzzardsI was under the impression the problem wasn't that vultures would transmit the prion, but that letting a carcass rot in the field causes the prion to go into the soil, where it can infect other cattle. I may be wrong about this, though. The prion is certainly tough enough to live (if you consider prions alive) in soil.

ElcubanitoKC said...

jaed, that's why you burn the carcass before letting the vultures eat it. It's a common practice in many places.

BJM said...

A vulture on a bus shelter in Brussels

Ha! An EU bureaucrat joke that writes itself.

Trooper York said...

They should just whack a bunch of Frenchman. That should take care of the poor vultures.

Kirk Parker said...

Trooper--nice double entendre!