Wyoming sheep show up with the dread disease scrapie

Scrapie was the first discovered prion disease. There are those who believe it was the origin of both mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease, including the human variant of mad cow disease.

Sheep kill planned after rare disease found. By Kathleen Miller. Associated Press writer

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  1. mikarooni Avatar

    This disease can also be spread to wild bighorns. There are reasons why cattlemen, on every continent and not just in the American West, traditionally had heartburn with sheepherders and it’s not only because of range jealousy. Sheep carry a variety of diseases and, because of the positioning of their front teeth, which are set far enough forward to clip the root crowns out of range grasses and especially the bunch grasses that are (were) native to the West, they truly are hell on rangeland.

  2. Jeff Avatar

    So is this the first case of transmission of chronic wasting disease to domestic stock? Is APHIS going to show up and kill off all ungulates in the area? Why does brucellosis garner such media attention and this far more serious disease doesn’t hardly even draw a comment. It shows where people emotions over run their brain when elk and wolves make people engaged on both sides of the issue and not a peep on a rogue prion in our livestock.

  3. mikarooni Avatar

    Well, I’m afraid that you’re on the trail. Wolves and coyotes killing a few animals is their topic of choice because they sure don’t want to talk about the connections between 1) domestic sheep and their passing scabies and pneumonia to wild sheep; 2) domestic sheep and scrapie and the spread of mad cow and CWD in deer, elk, and cattle (it’s rogue prions, not rogue prion); or 3) the differences in grazing impacts and predator resistance between bison and longhorn on the one hand and sheep and northern European cattle on the other. There are ways to still do your business while also being a bit gentler on the wildlife and landscape; but, they require doing your homework and being willing to change and people sure want to be bothered with either of those things. At both ends of the spectrum, they want simple purist answers and one-stop shopping, clean ideology rather than complex reality, and want to believe in the Rasputins who pander to them…


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan