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the general and wide-spread alarm created by Professor Gamgee's lecturing campaign, supported by trials in the police courts, and information supplied by public observation, now that attention is called to the subject.
The facts that have been brought out by the discussion of this question ought to be sufficient to disgust even where they cannot convince. However much difference of opinion may exist amongst medical men as to the results, whatever evidence interested traders may give before courts of justice (and in such cases the magistrates invariably disbelieve them) the knowledge that so much diseased and decayed flesh is sold for food ought to deter from its use, by sheer loathing. We know that persons above the operative classes congratulate themselves on the respectability of their butcher, though respectable men are often found with it in their possession, and lay the flattering unction to their souls that they at least get none of the vile stuff. Evidence however comes to light from time to time, showing that many butchers are much too "enlightened" to join in the cry against bad meat, and act as if they believed that whoever can eat flesh meat need not be very particular as to the quality. But, apart from the disgust which such diet naturally inspires, circumstances come to light from time to time showing the great danger that is run by those who join in the lottery of death which flesh-eating appears to be. On several occasions we have published cases of disease, terminating fatally, arising out of the use of flesh in various ways, and we have now to call especial attention to the following letter, written by a medical gentleman who is actively hostile to our movement:
To the Editor of the Manchester Examiner and Times.
Sir,-Having seen in this district a fatal case of what I believe was flesh-worm disease, I have been much interested and struck by a very able article on the subject communicated, without the author's name, to the "British Medical Journal" for January 16, from which I extract the following particulars for the benefit and warning of the inhabitants of this neighbourhood :
"A few months ago there was a festive celebration at Hettstadt, a small country town near the Hartz mountains, in Germany. Upwards of one hundred persons sat down to an excellent dinner; and, having enjoyed themselves more majorum, separated and went to their homes. Of these 103 persons, mostly men in the prime of life. 83 are now in their graves; the majority of the twenty survivors linger with a fearful malady; and a few only walk apparently unscathed among the living. but in hourly fear of an outbreak of the disease which has carried away such a number of their fellow-diners. They had all eaten of a poison at that festive board, the virulence of which far surpasses the reported effects of aqua tophana, or of the more tangible agents described in toxicological text-books. It was not a poison dug out of the earth, extracted from plants, or prepared in the laboratory of the chemist. It was not a poison administered by design or negligence; but it was a poison unknown to all concerned, and was eaten with the meat in which it was contained, and of which it formed a living constituent. The remnants of sausage and of pork employed in the manufacture of the röstewurst (the dish which formed the third course of the dinner) were examined with the microscope, and found to be literally swarming with encap-uled trichinæ, or flesh-worms. From the suffering muscles of several of the victims small pieces we e excised, and under the microscope found charged with embryonic trichinæ in all stages of development. It could not be doubted any longer that as many of the 103 as had partaken of the röstewurst had been infested with trichinous disease by eating of trichinous pork, the parasites of whic had, at least in part, escaped the effects of smoking and frying. This awful catastrophe awakened sympathy and fear throughout the whole of Germany. Most of the leading physicians were consulted in the interests of the sufferers, and some visited the neighbourhood where most of the afflicted patients remained; but none could bring relief or cure. With an obstinacy unsurpassed by any other infectious or parasitic disease, trichinasis carried its vict ms to the grave. If it be remembered that one ounce of meat filled with trichinæ, may form the stock from which, in a few days, three millions of worms may be bred; and that these worms will destroy, in the course of a few weeks, not less than two millions of striated muscular fibres.-an idea of the extent of destruction produced by these parasites can be formed. Mst educated people in Germany have, in consequence of the Hattstadt tragedy, adopted the law of Moses, and avoid pork in any form."
The writer of the valuable article, from which the above are merely extracts, concludes this important communication in the following words :
"It would be useful if the medical profession, as the natural guardian of the public health, were to put people on their guard against eating pork in an underdone condition, and otherwise than in the form of thoroughly boiled or roasted meat, we propose to our readers to use the word 'fleshworm' for popularly designating trichinæ. The word seems to express, to some extent, the horrors of the disease."
There are accounts of the outbreak of the same disease in other parts of Germany. The fleshworms are not killed by salting, smoking, or freezing the meat in which they exist, therefore these processes must not be trusted to as a protection from possible poisoning by eating of such meat. Indeed, so far as our present knowledge goes, the only manner of preparing pork so that it may be eaten with moderate safety is to either boil or roast most thoroughly every atom of it. It is believed that either of those processes, if perfectly done, will kill the fleshworms should they already exist in the pork.
Fleshworms undoubtedly exist in a large number of Irish and other pigs, and they are believed to be due in great part to the filthy way in which these animals are kept.
These fleshworms have been found on some few occasions, I believe, in other meats; and their possible existence in all meats should lead to the careful observance of the only safe protection of thoroughly boiling or roasting every particle of meat eaten.
The eating of under-cooked or raw pork, in any form, is undoubtedly the cause, in almost all cases, of the development of another loathsome disease, viz., tapeworm; and for this reason also such food should never be taken.
The importance of this subject to the general public must be my excuse for occupying so much of your valuable space.-I remain, sir, yours respectfully,
SHEPHERD FLETCHER, M.D.
We beg our readers particularly to note, and to inform their flesh-eating friends, that "moderate safety" may be obtained in the use of pork, provided “every atom" be "most thoroughly" cooked. Whatever satisfaction may be extracted from such an assurance must be of the most meagre description, and henceforth "fear and trembling" may well represent the state of mind in which pork can appropriately be eaten. Let it also be noted that this is an account of a feast where the best was provided, not the case of a poor drunkard's wife picking up at midnight the refuse of the shambles, and that the circumstance is a parallel to the safety which the middle classes enjoy in trading with the respectable butcher. Dr. Fletcher says too that the disease occurs in Manchester as well as in Hettstadt, the penalty of pork-eating being no less than death, and hence his warning to the people of his neighbourhood is quite pertinent, and will be equally so to porkeating everywhere. The Scripture gives the history of one who for a signal example was "devoured by worms," but here, perhaps by the same means, we have upwards of eighty Herods whose end should not be unprofitable to their survivors. Dr. Fletcher says he "believes" the fatal case he saw was one of fleshworm disease, he is not certain probably because the symptoms are not well-known; as they become known we may have in relation to this matter an experience such as has astonished the public in relation to Diptheria, &c., a supposed new disease, but really a new knowledge of a disease not before understood, though probably common enough. Strong countenance is given to this supposition by a letter which appeared in the Manchester papers after, Dr. Fletcher's, coufirming and strengthening his views, and presenting a picture of the ravages made in the human system by the living tenants of diseased flesh, that makes one shudder to glance at. Our friends who enjoy the advantages of a Vegetarian diet in sound constitutions and clear minds, will doubtless think with us that not one of the least advantages of their practice is in avoiding the dangers that are peculiar to flesh food. We here present the letter referred to :
To the Editor of the Manchester Examiner and Times.
Dr. Shepherd Fletcher deserves thanks for furnishing to your columns an extract from a recent number of the "British Medical Journal," which graphically relates the Tragedy of eighty-three deaths from eating underdone diseased pork.
Some time ago, when busy with analyses of food, one of my colleagues, Dr. Brown, drew my attention to the frequency of loathsome diseases, engendered by the consumption of unsound animal food. He read me his notes on tape-worm, and pointed out many specimens in the medical school museum, illustrative of the dire effects which undercooked and diseased flesh exerts on the human frame.
Pursuing this enquiry, I found the evils wide spread; and I have regarded it as a duty frequently to warn the public by adverting strongly to this subject when lecturing on sanitary matters.
The flesh of swine furnishes an almost endless variety of dishes and forms of food, but it is often unfit for aliment, when to ordinary observers all seems well. The ova of several varieties of entozoa require a medium for their propagation, and this is furnished by several animals whose fle-h is consumed by man. No seasoning or spices will destroy these germs. They even escape digestion in the human stomach, and while some form their home in the bowels, others burrow in the liver, muscles, &c., to perfect a fresh state of existence, thus furnishing a sad commentary on Charles Lamb's glowing essay on the savoury delights of "Roast Pig."
Poor Ho-ti, when he taught the world how to love roast pork, thoroughly roasted the litter of little pigs in his first experimeut, by burning the house down in which they were confined. The inhabitants of Pekin followed Ho-ti literally, till at length a common fire was found to cook as well as a conflagration. We "outer barbarians" are, I fear, almost content to do with as little fire in cooking as possible.
I am told that many of the sufferers from parasites, when steadily questioned, admit their love and partiality for raw underdone meats. Children should especially be prohibited touching meat fresh from the butcher's shop-a repulsive habit which leads them to taste "juices of the flesh," and thereby acquire a secret and injurious longing for ill-cooked meat. The poor are very much addicted to this practice, and every hospital has its records of the miseries endured by unthinking people, who have thus innoculated themselves with loathSome and grievous diseases. Safety lies in thorough cooking, and whether boiled or roast, let all animal food be "well done." The "ova" are destroyed by heat where efficient cooking is practised.-Yours respectfully, D. S.
As to the opinion expressed in the latter part of the letter, that safety lies in thorough cooking, we wonder whether the inside of any piece of flesh whatever gets the degree of cooking required. What will the gormands say to the demolition of their favourite theory of half-cooking? How will it suit them to have their food in a cindery state, in order to avoid sickness and death? As if to leave no loophole, another correspondent comes to the assault, intending to defend Irish pigs, but really making a case against English ones. He says:
Your English readers know that many of the cottagers, who do not keep pigs, have what they call swill tubs or swill pots, and that the slops, such as potato parings, &c., are thrown into their swill pots, where they are kept several weeks, and sold to the pig feeders for a trifle. Many of these feeders or breeders have large swill tubs buried in the ear h, into which they put what has been purchased from the non-pig feeder, and which is supplied to the pigs from time to time. And such is the nauseous smell arising from those swill tubs, that it is proverbial among the lower class of English, when speaking of anything which has an unpleasant smell, to say-" It smells as ill as a swill tub."
The correspondence closes with the following letter:
To the Editor of the Manchester Examiner and Times.
Sir,-Permit me, through your valuable paper, to call the atten ion of the public to the birds now being sold in our markets which come from America, as I was under the influence of poison from partaking of one of these American partridges, or prairie hens, the night before last. I certainly never thought I should have escaped death, so fearful was the attack. Emetics and the best modes of preserving life against virulent irritant poisons were resorted to by the medical gentleman who was immediately called in, and who remained with me until danger appeared over, or else I do not think I could have survived, so dreadful were the shocks which my frame went through. I think it my duty to warn others against the danger. My impression is that strychnia or prussic acid was the poison. I send my card and address, and am, yours obediently, A. D. F.
Manchester, 28th January, 1864.
On another page we give an abstract of a debate on the bill introduced by government for the prevention of the importation of diseased cattle. Mr. Bruce,
the Under Secretary of the Home Department, showed that disease is increasingly and alarmingly rife, so much so that the insurance offices have doubled the rate since the year 1844; even then, Irish cattle being also included, the largest offices declined the business. Nor need we wonder at this, when we learn that in eightyeight Edinburgh dairies, having a stock of 1,839 cows, 1,075 were sold diseased in the course of a single year. Again, how significant is the testimony of Mr. Ganley, a salesmaster; "unless," he told a meeting in Dublin, "some society were formed to have diseased meat paid for, it would be killed and eaten. There was no use mincing the matter, everyone of the salesmen sold diseased cattle. The farmer could not otherwise pay his rent. The disease is so prevalent that he could not live were he to submit his cattle to destruction." We believe the measure introduced by government is necessary if flesh-eating is to be continued, and, if we may be pardoned the paradox, we also believe it will be impossible for flesh-eating to be continued if the bill becomes law.
CATTLE DISEASES PREVENTION BILL, AND CATTLE IMPORTATION BILL.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, MARCH 8, 1864.
Mr. BRUCE, in rising to move the second reading of these Bills, said that the subject had been considered with that care and attention due to its importance. As far as could be ascertained, there were in the United Kingdom nearly 8,000,000 head of cattle, thus distributed :-In Englend there was something over 3,500,000; in Ireland something over 3,250.000; and in Scotland about 1,000,000. The total number of sheep was about 40,000,000, and the total number of pigs 4,300,000. The aggregate value of that property, reckoning the cattle as worth £10 per head, the sheep at £1 each, and the pigs also at £1, was no less than £121,800.000. These figures indicated the magnitute and importance of the interests involved in this question. Disease among cattle had broken out with peculiar virulence during the last 20 years. In 1844 the first insurance office for cattle was founded, when it was estimated that premiums of from 3 to 3 per cent would cover the risks of loss. Several insurance offices were started, but although the premiums were increased from three gradually up to seven per cent, and although after a time the insurance offices refused to admit Irish cattle, as being more afflicted with disease than other cattle, the largest offices came to a stand. In 1861 Mr. M'Minn (superintendent for Scotland of the Agricultural Cattle Insurance Company, one of the most important of these establishments), published statistical tables which showed that in the six years from 1855 to 1860 inclusive, the average annual mortality among 30,000 cattle insured was 1,474, or nearly five per cent, their average value being taken at £11. 9s. 8d a head. That was in Scotland. Applying these figures to the United Kingdom, the average loss from disease in six years would be 2,225,000 head, or 375.000 head a year. The total value of the loss for the six years was £26,000.000, or £4,320,000 per annum. The annual death-rate for sheep was estimated at four per cent, or in value £1,600.000 a year. In regard to pigs, the estimated loss in Ireland was ten per cent; in England and Scotland it was much less; the total value of the loss of pigs in the United Kingdom averaging £1.200,000 a year. The aggregate annual value of the cattle, sheep, and pigs lost by disease in the United Kingdom was, therefore, £6,120,000. The most fatal of those diseases was pleuropneumonia, from which at least half of the cattle died. In 1848 the annual report of the Agricultural Insurance Company said that in some districts thousands were
carried off by this disease. So great, indeed, were its ravages that nearly threefourths of the losses for which claims were made on the company were the results of that incurable malady. It appeared to be generally admitted that at least one-half of the cattle died of this disease. With respect to the causes of this disease doctors differed among themselves. Some said it was contagious, others that it was not contagious, but propagated by epidemic. It was not for him to decide but he believed the preponderance of argument was in favour of its being contagious. It might also occasionally arise spontaneously in some districts; but facts, he thought, proved that it was contagious. This disease, however it arose, was no doubt propagated in transmission of cattle by ship from foreign countries. They were, perhaps, driven a considerable way to the port of embarcation, huddled into ships, taken across the seas, exposed to great heat and suffering on board ship; they were taken ashore, put into trucks in which cattle had recently travelled infected with the same disease (hear, hear), and thus, both on shipboard and in these trucks, at fairs and other places of sale, the disease was necessarily propagated. It therefore seemed necessary to consider what provisions could be made to diminish the propagation of the disease from these causes. He need not go into details as to other diseases the foot and mouth disease, the scab in sheep, and measles in pigs. He had stated the number of deaths arising from disease, but that did not represent the whole extent of the mischief. There was another point of great social importWithin the ance connected with this subject, and that was the question of meat last few years the price of beef and mutton had very considerably increased. Whether that was owing in any considerable extent to the amount of disease which prevailed among cattle, or whether it arose from the greater demand for butcher's meat in consequence of the increasing prosperity and wealth of the people, he could not undertake to decide. Probably the rise in price was attributable to both causes. An enormous mass of diseased meat, in various stages of disease, was annually sold. What the precise quantity was it would of course be difficult to estimate. Professor Gamgee estimated it at one-fifth. There was no conclusive evidence on the subject, although there was ample evidence that the quantities were very large, not only of meat killed while cattle were diseased, but of cattle which had died without the aid of the butcher. He took the case where the figures were beyond dispute. The deaths in dairies were most numerous. In Edinburgh Professor Gamgee gave returns from 88 dairies for the year ending 1862. kept 1,075 were sold diseased of which 791 were sold to butchers and 284 to be consumed by pigs. In nine dairies in Dublin, on an average of twenty years, out of 315 cows 161 were sold diseased. In Dublin it was observable that cows being turned out to grass the greatest part of the year were healthier than in the great towns. The loss in London, Manchester, &c., was equally great. These diseased cows were sold in Dublin fairs at from £2 to £5 each. In London and Edinburgh, where the facilities for sale were greater, at from £10 to £20. In London the seizures of diseased meat were very large, representing probably but a small part of those killed in a diseased state. He would on this subject read to the House an extract from Professor Gamgee. He says:-"In London I have seen butchers in private slaughter-houses dress extremely diseased carcasses and 'polish' the meat. This filthy practice consists in killing a good fat ox at the same time that a number of lean and diseased animals are being killed. Boiling water is at hand, and when the lean animals have been skinned their flesh is rubbed over with fat from the healthy ox, and hot cloths are used to keep the fat warm and to distribute it over the carcass, that it may acquire an artificial gloss and an appearance of not being totally deprived of fat. In Edinburgh I have seen sickly lambs without a particle of fat upon them dressed up with the fat of healthy sheep much in the same way. From the private slaughterhouses in London I have known even the diseased organs themselves sent to the sausage maker. In company with another member of my profession, I have seen a carcass dressed and portions of it prepared for sale as sausage meat and otherwise, although thoracic disease had gone to such an extent that gallons of fetid fluid were removed from the plural sacs, and that large abscesses existed in the lungs."(Hear, hear.) In Edinburgh there were between 100 and 200 diseased cattle sold weekly in the meat market; and as to Dublin, he would read an extract from the Times, dated December 17, 1862:-"The Royal Dublin Society met on Saturday evening to hear a lecture from Professor Gamgee, on disease and mortality among
Out of 1.839 cows