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What's wrong with this picture? Most people are so used to this sight that they think nothing is wrong. In fact they believe this is what country scenery should look like.

First of all, it is now illegal to do this. Secondly, it is illegal for good reason. Dairy cattle are known carriers of Cryptosporidium, a parasitic micoorganism that is known to cause serious illness in man. The cysts of the organism are deposited into water by feces from infected animals and many water systems have no purification process to remove them or effectively kill "Crypto". This picture was taken approximately 150 yards from the Chattahoochee River. The cow is standing in a creek that flows directly into the Chattahoochee and just 400 yards downstream from here there was a group picnicking right on the river, with their children, grandparents and pets (all potential carriers and victims) while this photograph was taken.

Information from the Kansas State University Parasitology Web Page: "....shedding in Holstein calves that were each infected orally ....In our experience, as few as 2 billion and as many as 20 billion oocysts (of Cryptosporidium) can be collected during a single 24 hr period from calves during peak oocyst shedding. A single calf can easily produce 50 billion oocysts within a period of one week."


Cattle also deposit E. coli and other disease-causing organisms into the water in feces. Why don't we ever hear about people getting sick from this? In part, because we do not want to unduly alarm the public, lest we cause a panic. Why is this more dangerous than ever? Because Cryptosporidium is considered a potentially effective weapon of bioterrorism by many experts. Infecting cattle like this (if they are not already infected) at a strategic site upstream of inhabited areas could lead to thousands of animals, pets, and people downstream becoming infected. Providing a watering trough and fencing to prevent cattle from entering streams would make this sight something that would raise suspicions and could prevent a serious problem. If nothing else, it would make the water healthier, cleaner, and safer for everyone to use.

Erosion caused by animal movements causes more sediment and mud in the water, which makes it very difficult to purify the water for drinking.



Standing water in sites like this provides excellent sites for growth of bacteria, fungi, mosquitoes, algae, and various Protozoans. Some of these organisms could not grow without the feces and cattle urine to enrich the water and the churning provided by the cattle hooves. West Nile virus and numerous other disease-causing organisms thrive under these conditions. If no-one gets sick in the immediate area from disease-carrying mosquitoes, Giardia, E. coli, Cryptosporidium or other organisms it will certainly create more problems for purification when it reaches a treatment plant and therefore make it more likely that someone who drinks the treated water will get sick. Water Borne Diseases 1


The photograph on the right was taken less than 1/4 mile downstream on the same river. These people, their CHILDREN and their pets are definitely at greater risk for getting sick because of what is going on upstream. It is not necessary to conduct an elaborate or detailed study to conclude that this is a HEALTH risk to the community. It just makes common sense.

Why were situations like this not always a problem in the past? Because there were a great deal fewer livestock animals, cattle, chickens, pigs and others, as well as a great deal less contact of people with the animal waste because there were a lot fewer people. The number of chickens, cattle, domestic animals, pets, children, susceptible adults and elderly have all increased to more critical levels. New diseases have been imported to the area, and the truth is we do not even know all about what is already here, let alone what new risks there are because of "emerging" diseases (new diseases that have never existed before, or never been a threat to man before).

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Last modified by Dr. Eberhard Essich 03/22/17