In this day and age, you’re either pro-vaccine, or you’re an “anti-vaxxer.” And if you have one problem with one vaccine, or even just one vaccine ingredient, you are labeled not only anti-vaxxer but also anti-science.
Consider a person in the “pro-vaccine” camp. Let’s say this person approves of all of the vaccines from the CDCs Immunization Schedule page, and of course, they also get the flu shot.
Related: Influenza Vaccine – A Comprehensive Overview of the Potential Dangers and Effectiveness of the Flu Shot
Would said person mind, say… “drinking” additional vaccines? Not a specific amount or at a specific time, and not in any way that can be measured. Would it be ok if those vaccine concoctions were developed for livestock, and deemed not fit for humans?
Of course, we’re not drinking vaccine ingredients, but chances are very good that meat eaters are eating them.
If you’re anti-GMO, you can get organic meat. If you’re anti-antibiotics, that’s another good reason to buy organic meat (supposedly). But what if you don’t want to consume vaccine ingredients?
So what kind of animal vaccines are you eating? It depends.
The amount and type of vaccines given to an animal depend on what animal is it. Currently, there are vaccines on the market for pigs, cows, sheep, goats, poultry (chicken, ducks, and turkeys), and fish. There a few different vaccine delivery systems, from injections to spray droplets and through drinking water.
There’s also a difference between modified live viruses (MLV) and killed viruses.
MLVs are a vaccine consisting of a live virus, usually freeze-dried. They provoke a stronger immune response, are less likely to contain adjuvants, and result in fewer lesions at the injection site. They are designed to be a single dose. The downside of these immunizations is a lack of stability, as they must be used within 1-2 hours of being reconstituted and are susceptible to heat and sunlight. These vaccines also shed and must be carefully monitored when given to female cows so as not to interfere with pregnancy.
Killed viruses are seen as safer than MLVs. They don’t shed and are safer for pregnant or immunocompromised animals. But without a live vaccine to provoke an immune response, killed vaccines frequently have adjuvants designed to increase that response, like oils, formalin (formaldehyde), thimerosal, and aluminum hydroxide. These are more likely to cause lesions at the injection sites and require the animal to be dosed twice. Most farmers prefer the one shot advantage offered by the modified live vaccines.
The average calf receives a minimum of three vaccines in their first 2-3 months. One of these vaccines is always a 7 or 8 shot for clostridial viruses, and another is a shot for 3-5 different bovine respiratory disorders. They receive boosters shortly before weaning. Other commonly given cattle vaccines include pinkeye, Pasteurella, Brucellosis, tetanus, and scours. Pigs are supposed to be immunized for Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Erysipelas, E. coli, and Atrophic rhinitis. For poultry it depends, there’s chicken, turkey, and duck.
Speaking of Preservatives…
A Google search for livestock vaccines shows how easy it is to obtain these vaccines. This also makes it easier to check the ingredients, although some products are still reluctant to list anything not considered an active ingredient. Many livestock vaccines actually have antibiotics as preservatives, whereas as others use various forms of aluminum, formaldehyde, and thimerosal.
Thimerosal is particularly of note, as the human vaccine debate frequently centers around thimerosal and its role in the development of autism and other developmental disorders. There is no such debate in livestock vaccines. After all, no cares if your cow is unable to function properly in society or experiences random seizures.
The preservatives in animal vaccines also make them very toxic to humans. Workers who are accidentally injected with these vaccines deal with side effects from the oil-based adjuvants in livestock vaccines (particularly cattle vaccines) for months after an accidental injection. A dose meant for a 1,000-pound animal is clearly too much for the average person, but the vaccine is specifically designed to stimulate a response in the cattle for a period of weeks to months. Removing the oil-based preservatives from the human body can sometimes involve surgery.
The adjuvants in animal vaccines are what make them dangerous to people. Still, most of us won’t be handling livestock anytime soon. Many of the companies that make livestock vaccines make people vaccines, but those meant for people are not oil-based, even if some of the other preservatives are the same.
Livestock Vaccines Are Not Safe for People
Any insert will tell you that livestock vaccines are not safe for people.
Each year, livestock producers give thousands of injections to calves and cows. The vast majority of those injections go off without a problem. However, there are times when producers may accidentally inject the vaccines or antibiotics into themselves or other helpers. So what happens when a product, meant for a 1,000-pound cow, winds up inside a 200-pound human? The results can be deadly.” – The Prairie Star
So, vaccines given to humans are perfectly safe, vaccines given to animals are dangerous to humans if taken accidentally, but ingesting livestock vaccine ingredients randomly is acceptable.
Self-injection with veterinary vaccines is an occupational hazard for farmers and veterinary surgeons. Injection of vaccine into a closed compartment such as the human finger can have serious sequelae including loss of the injected digit. These injuries are not to be underestimated. Early debridement and irrigation of the injected area with decompression is likely to give the best outcome. Frequent review is necessary after the first procedure because repeat operations may be required.” – NCBI
We don’t value the life of livestock the way we do humans. This is why they get differing grades for feed. But beyond the stray injection or accidental interaction suffered by a handler, no one is being exposed to these vaccines. Except when we ingest the meat. The same with antibiotics being fed to farm animals. We were told that we didn’t have to worry about those… but now we have microbial revolution consisting of antibiotic resistant superbugs we are unprepared to deal with.
The extent to which veterinary vaccines pose a health hazard to humans is unclear. The increased use of veterinary vaccines may be accompanied by an increase in human exposure to the vaccine strains, thus increasing the potential for adverse effects. Also, new methods of vaccine administration may result in an increased likelihood of inadvertent exposure. For example, increased use of aerosol administration may result in greater human exposure to animal vaccines. For some animal vaccines, such as those administered to prevent “kennel cough” in dogs, aerosol administration is becoming the preferred route. Also, oral administration of vaccines that contain live agents is becoming more common. Orally administered vaccines have been developed for rabies prophylaxis in wildlife, and millions of baits have been distributed. The administration of live vaccines to animals destined for the human food supply may result in human exposure to a vaccine strain. Illness subsequent to such an exposure is unlikely to be recognized by the patient or the physician as a potential consequence of an animal vaccine exposure.” – Oxford Academic
What’s a meat eater to do? My wife and I shop at the local farmers market. We know our vendors. They are the farmers. We buy ground beef for our dog and the farmer is about as fond of vaccines as we are. I recommend that everyone grow as much of their own food as they can and get to know everything about the people involved in growing and processing anything else you consume.
- How To Detoxify and Heal From Vaccinations – For Adults and Children
- Doctors Against Vaccines – Hear From Those Who Have Done the Research
- Nurses Against Vaccines
- Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out Against Vaccines
- Statesmen Against Mandatory Vaccines
- Scientists Against Vaccines – Hear From Those Who Have Done the Research
- Effects of Antibiotics on Animal Feed – udel.com
- Farm Animal Vaccination – noah.co.uk
- Livestock Health Care Practice Standard – U.S. Government Publishing Office
- Current Status of Veterinary Vaccines – National Center for Biotechnology Information
- What to Do When the Handler Suffers an Accidental Injection – The Prairie Star
- The Number of New Flu Viruses is Increasing and Could Lead to a Pandemic – The Conversation
- Herd Health: Vaccinations for the Cow-Calf Operation – Cattle Network
- Calf Vaccination Guidelines – New Mexico State University
- Vaccinations for the Swine Herd – Alabama Extension
- Merck Veterinary Manual – Merck