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more prevalent; but the published experiments of sundry investigators, the zeal of veterinarians for the public welfare or their own personal interests, have pointed out the methods by which it is propagated, and newspaper reporters have aroused public attention to the matter by sensational or erroneous reports of a very few special cases. The disease is and has been here ever since white men or cattle occupied the land. At considerable intervals we find it in single cases among large herds in all parts of the State; occasionally, under peculiar circumstances of hunger, exposure and bad hygienic conditions, it is almost epidemic; and the same has been true when the latter conditions have been reversed. Though not unmindful of these facts, we see no occasion for alarm, but only for well-directed vigilance. We do not believe the pecuniary interests of our stock growers or the public health of our people require the application of the extreme provisions of the pleuro-pneumonia law to this disease; and, further, if it was applied, and millions of dollars expended in its execution, it would be of no avail unless the State could be securely isolated from all mankind, and all animals beyond its border. Believing these statements to be facts, we have thought the best course for us to pursue to curtail the prevalence of the disease among cattle directly, and among humans indirectly, was by inspection and elimination, it being the same we have followed with the contagion of glanders. The question of protecting the public health from the food products of our herds which might possibly be infected by this disease, is a different one from that of curtailing the spread of the disease among cattle, and is within the province and line of duty of the local boards of health of our cities and towns, or of the inspectors of food and provisions which the towns and cities may appoint.
Several attempts in this direction have been made by boards of health during the year, but notably in Waltham and Medford. In the former place information was received by the board of health that on a certain farm producing market milk one animal had died and another was infected with tuberculosis out of a herd of twelve. Thinking it to be their duty, they examined the premises and the herd, found all the animals in good condition and in apparent health, food good and abundant, and hygienic conditions unexceptionable ; but, from the statement of a veterinarian that one of the cows had a tuberculous development in her udder, they ordered the isolation of the whole herd, forbade the owner from.selling his milk without an examination to see if it was infected by the disease, and notified the Cattle Commissioners of a case of contagion requiring their attention. The Commissioners answered the call, and pursued the course in relation to it, which is indicated above. After causing the owner of the herd a great deal of annoyance, injury to his business, pecuniary loss, and the removal of the one suspected cow, all restraint was removed, the usual business of the farm was resumed, and the commissioners have no knowledge that there has been any disease or suspicion of it on the premises for the last eleven months. :
By the radical action of the board of health, the peculiar temperament and interests of the owner of the cattle, the sensational and overdrawn statements of newspaper correspondents and reporters, the Medford case was soon made famous; but, stripped of all extraneous matter and ill feeling, it was a very simple affair, and might have been easily disposed of with very little notoriety. Succinctly stated, it was as follows: Complaint was made to the board of health of the filthy and unhealthy condition of a certain stable and its surrounding grounds, and also of the herd of thirty-four cows kept therein, which were making milk for market. An examination by the board fully sustained the complaint. They at once ordered isolation, and put the premises in charge of a policeman, to prevent either cattle or milk from being removed, and notified the Cattle Commissioners. Our board answered the call, and made an examination of the stock. We found the animals had been abundantly fed, and most of them in good condition; a few new arrivals were thin in flesh, and four or five might fairly be suspected of infection with tuberculosis. The sanitary condition of the establishment was so bad that it was just to call it a nui
We pursued the same course as with the Waltham case, which we have previously indicated. If this establish
ment was a nuisance, the board of health had power to abate it by cleaning it up, or removing it to a healthy locality. It was not done, however; the business of the owner was destroyed, restraint was finally removed, the concern broken up, and stock scattered by the act of the owner, and our board have not learned that it proved a new centre of tuberculous infection. The public discussion of these and other kindred cases convinced the Commissioners, that, notwithstanding our repeated publication of the characteristics and the facts in relation to the disease, the public were not fully informed respecting it, and boards of health were not aware of the direction and limitation of their powers and duties when taking control of a case.
Therefore its secretary, by direction of the board, prepared the following circular, to which was appended our regulation for their guidance, and sent copies of the same to the proper officers of our cities and towns. The information it contained had also a wide circulation by aid of the newspaper press.
TUBERCULOSIS: ITS RELATIONS TO AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY AND
Secretary's Office, Dedham, MA88., May 1, 1890. Tuberculosis is a word that not found even in the latest editions of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. The disease among animals known by this name is identical with that so long known as consumption in the human family ; but that it is a contagious disease, which may be communicated from animals to man and from man to animals, has not been generally suspected even by the medical profession till within a comparatively recent period ; and, now that its contagious nature is accepted, much further investigation is needed to determine exactly how and to what extent it is communicable under varying circumstances and conditions. Until very recently it was not believed that the milk from a tuberculous cow could be harmful, unless the disease had extended to the udder; but the experiments made during the past two years, under the auspices of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, have shown that the germs of the disease are some
times found in milk drawn from presumably healthy udders. This renders the subject still more serious to consumers of milk. There is now no question but that the flesh or milk of a tuberculous cow, if taken without thorough cooking, may carry the disease to such as partake of it. The important questions are, What are the chances? and What can be done to avoid or lesson the danger?
The Cattle Commissioners during the past few years have received numerous notifications of suspected tuberculosis, and appeals for assistance in stamping out the disease from infected herds or localities; but thus far they have not seen their clear for very vigorous action. The cattle disease law was enacted for the special purpose of stamping out contagious pleuro-pneumonia when it raged in Massachusetts thirty years ago.
That is a disease that can be eradicated effectually only by the destruction of all infected animals, and also all healthy ones that may have been exposed to infection by coming within the presence of such as are diseased. Under these circumstances, animals in perfect health, to the value of many thousands of dollars, had to be killed and sold for beef; and, to partially indemnify cattle owners, it became necessary, in executing the law, to cause an appraisement of the animals, and the payment of their appraised value from the public treasury. Subsequently the Cattle Commissioners were given jurisdiction over cases of glanders in horses, and contagious diseases in any other domesticated animals; and for a number of years horses condemned for glanders were appraised and paid for at rates that not infrequently offered an inducement to horse owners to apply to State authorities for a market for such worthless stock. Although a later act discontinued the appraisal of glandered horses, the phraseology of the original statute was retained till the general revision of the law in 1887, when the Cominissioners, if in their judgment the circumstances of the case and the public good required it, were given power to cause to be killed and buried any domestic animals which are infected with, or have been exposed to, a contagious disease; and, if they are satisfied that the disease has been contracted by intention or through negligence of owners or persons in their employ, or by feeding food liable to contain the germs of disease, it becomes the duty of the Commissioners to destroy without an appraisal. Exactly how the term “negligence” would be construed, or whether due care would mean the inspection by a competent veterinarian of every animal purchased in the open market, are questions that have not as yet been answered in our courts of justice.
But a careful study of the character of tuberculosis has convinced the Commissioners, intelligent veterinarians and cattle men generally, that this is not a disease to be handled as contagious pleuro-pneumonia must be. It is usually slow and uncertain in its action, exceedingly difficult or impossible to detect in its early stages, and greatly modified in its course by conditions, sanitary or otherwise, under which the infected animals are kept.
The aim and purpose of the original statute was to suppress contagious pleuro-pneumonia, in the interest, primarily, of cattle owners, rather than for the protection of the public from the danger of consuming poisonous animal products.
The control of tuberculous cattle and their food products, when offered for public use, is as fully within the jurisdiction of boards of health and food inspectors as of the Cattle Commissioners, so long as action is restricted to the protection of human health ; though any attempt to effectually eradicate the disease from the State might require the action of both.
Every wise person, before beginning any great work, will make as accurate an estimate as possible of the magnitude of the undertaking. The extent of the work required to clear an infected territory of tuberculosis will appear at least to those who have given the subject the least thought or consideration. In a State like Massachusetts, where a large proportion of the stock kept is shipped in from beyond her borders, there would be no end to the work till the outside territory was made free from the disease.
But there is another view of the subject, of which few even of the most vigilant veterinarians or medical men seem to have obtained so much as a glance; viz., the danger to healthy animals from association with consumptive members of the human family. Dr. Daniel D. Lee, instructor of anatomy in the veterinary department of Harvard University, contributed to the March number of the Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives a communication which touclies this side of the question in a way that may well cause one to ask if the present need is not for a better understanding of the nature of the disease by all who produce or consume animal products, rather than for the pole-axe or shooting iron of the Cattle Commissioner. Under the title, 6. The Present Attitude of Veterinarians on the Subject of Tuberculosis,” the doctor says:
All the veterinarians who have had the advantage of a modern education in their profession are thoroughly convinced that tuberculosis is a contagious disease. They are aware that the disease can be produced by the inoculation of milk, of muscle juice or tuberculous products from animals suffering from the disease, and also that it is transmitted from