Goat Flu? You’ve got to be kidding!
Once again the media pundits have proven that they will do anything for a headline. Not satisfied with the damage they did to the pork industry by misrepresenting H1N1, they have now turned their attention to goats.
A number of cases of Q fever have surfaced in the Netherlands, prompting a knee-jerk reaction by government officials, culling sheep flocks and goat herds testing positive for the disease. The unofficial number of animals to be killed is between 15,000 and 20,000, mainly goats, to help prevent further spread of the disease. All infected sheep and goats that have been vaccinated will be slaughtered, as will all pregnant goats and sheep on farms where the disease has been identified. Seems a bit extreme to me, since all that would really have been necessary would have been to dry off infected lactating does and make sure no one drinks the milk, which would be about the only way to contract the disease short of physical contact with the animals. (Pasteurizing the milk should have resolved the problem anyway.) Infected goats could be treated, then culled only if they were chronic cases, a statistically low probability.
But of course there would have been no hysteria attached to a reasonable, rational approach to limiting spread of the disease and what’s the fun in that? Politicians have to appear to be doing something and they will invariably choose the emotionally-charged overreaction in favor of the moderate, science-based solution every time. And of course the media lives for the sensational – trust me, I used to be one of them.