Cats, H5N1 and FAO

Cats again (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here). Now the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is warning that cats are susceptible to H5N1:

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today that cats should be monitored for signs of bird flu or avian influenza.

They said that cats, like humans, can become infected with the deadly strain of the H5N1 virus that causes avian flu, possibly from eating infected birds, or from being in very close contact with infected birds or their feces. But they emphasize there is no evidence of a sustained cat to cat transmission or of cats passing the deadly strain to humans.

They mention that people have become alarmed by reports that cats in Indonesia have become infected with the deadly version of H5N1 from scavenging on dead and sick infected birds near markets in Java and Sumatra where H5N1 avian flu has recently been detected.

Meanwhile the US embassy in Indonesia has advised its citizens to keep away from stray cats as a precaution against becoming infected with lethal H5N1. They said that they had received confirmation of wild and stray cats carrying the deadly virus.

The FAO is advising that cats should be kept away from infected birds wherever possible. And where poultry is being raised on a commercial basis, cats should be kept indoors.

The FAO does not advise culling cats as a safety measure against the spread of lethal H5N1.

At the moment the strategy is simply to reduce the opportunity for the virus to move into a cat population on a sustained basis where it might mutate into a strain that could infect humans or cause widespread infection in the cat population. (Medical World News)

It's not news that the disease is in cats, but FAO official cognizance is newsworthy. The spread of the virus into ever more hosts, especially mammals who have a close ecological relationship with humans, is a matter of some concern. So is the additional opportunity for the virus to become adapted to mammals.

Of particular interest is FAO's mention of Dr. C. A. Nodom's January report of a 20% H5N1 antibody prevalence in a convenience (non-systematic) sample of stray cats near Indonesian live poultry markets:

According to the FAO, findings in Indonesia in January showed that 80 per cent of the cats in the areas affected by the H5N1 outbreak were not infected. This is encouraging news because it is evidence that the virus has not found a reservoir in which to sustain itself in the cat population. "Cats are more likely to be a dead-end host for the H5N1 virus," said FAO Animal Health Officer, Peter Roeder.

Three things are interesting about this quote from Animal Health Officer, Peter Roeder. First, it is the first confirmation of Nidom's results by another party. Second, Roeder was once reported to have been doing his own cat survey. What happened to that effort is unknown. Why haven't we seen any results? Is it being done? Third, the "encouraging news" that 80% of cats n the areas affected are not infected could as easily been put in a less optimistic way: "20% of feral cats in the affected areas show signs they have become infected." Since this was not a random sample, we don't really know the extent of cat infection or infection in any other animal in areas where H5N1 is now endemic in poultry.

The FAO is treading the fine line between inciting undue and inappropriate action (like round-ups and mass killing of cats) and encouraging vigilance and systematic surveillance. As yet we don't know how affected cats got the virus. Is it from eating infected birds? Other small mammals that may be infected we don't know about? From each other?

Not letting your cat wander around the neighborhood seems to us good practice under any circumstances (of course we are not cat keepers). Certainly a sick cat in an area where there are H5N1 infected birds should raise suspicion. Of most concern would be a mass cat die off.

This is a warning flag. If FAO is not doing the studies it said it wanted to do, we should find out why. If it is Indonesian authorities, we should be told. If FAO is unwilling to announce this officially for fear of being excluded from the country (which would be a bad thing), some enterprising investigative reporter based in or traveling to Indonesia should look into this.

Any takers?


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Better late than never.

"Not letting your cat wander around the neighborhood seems to us good practice under any circumstances (of course we are not cat keepers)."

It may seem like a 'good practice' but it is not very practical. Cat keepers will realize that preventing a cat from 'wandering around the neighborhood' or trying to keep one indoors is just not the way cats work. And then there are plenty of feral cats in almost any neighborhood.

I wonder about transmission here. If cats are really picking up H5N1 from scavanging live-market garbage then it seems kind of silly to worry about locking up pet cats.It might be more important to work on effective clean-up of garbage. Has anyone checked rodents?

It seems we are blinded by the 'migratory-birds to outdoor poultry' transmission paradigm to the point of dangerously ignoring the many other possibilities.

Living here in semi-rural New England, I've become a cat-keeper from necessity (as well as love). Over 37 years, I've live-trapped and adopted at least a dozen cats (and as many dogs) who come around looking for food--apparently abandoned by their previous owners, who dropped them off on the highway near our house to fend for themselves.

At the moment, we have only two cats--both adopted strays. Although they both hunt, one is an exceptionally skilled hunter. Since early fall, she's killed and eaten (more accurately, partially eaten)a young weasel, three Norway rats, quite a few birds, many squirrels (red, gray, flying) and countless mice, moles and voles. She catches them indoors (Yikes! Country living.) and out, and loves to show off her trophies by depositing bloody heads/bones/skins/tails/guts, etc., on the doorstep, living room rug, stairway, or other well-trafficked location.

As I've kept pace with the evolving story of H5N1, I think often of these much-loved companions and their various species of prey. The role felines have already played and might play in the future evolution of the virus is never far from my mind.

Living here in semi-rural New England, I've become a cat-keeper from necessity (as well as love). Over 37 years, I've live-trapped and adopted at least a dozen cats (and as many dogs) who come around looking for food--apparently abandoned by their previous owners, who dropped them off on the highway near our house to fend for themselves.

At the moment, we have only two cats--both adopted strays. Although they both hunt, one is an exceptionally skilled hunter. Since early fall, she's killed and eaten (more accurately, partially eaten)a young weasel, three Norway rats, quite a few birds, many squirrels (red, gray, flying) and countless mice, moles and voles. She catches them indoors (Yikes! Country living.) and out, and loves to show off her trophies by depositing bloody heads/bones/skins/tails/guts, etc., on the doorstep, living room rug, stairway, or other well-trafficked location.

As I've kept pace with the evolving story of H5N1, I think often of these much-loved companions and their various species of prey. The role felines have already played and might play in the future evolution of the virus is never far from my mind.

I'm unclear, as to why cats can not be kept inside. I know many cat owners who never let their cates outside their home.

The precise use of words is important here. The US embassy in Jakarta claimed that it had "received confirmation of wild and stray cats carrying the deadly virus."

I think they got that wrong--I think they heard Nidom's results indicating that about 20% of cats wandering around near bird markets had seen the virus sometime in their lives, and thus carried antibodies against it. That's very different from asymptomatically carrying the live virus around, which is what most people understand the words "carrier" or "carry the virus" to mean. The cats Nidom tested were very unlikely to still contain live virus.

That's important because it means you don't need to fear cats because they "carry" the virus. After all, haven't some studies shown that a certain number of people who work in bird markets are also seropositive for antibodies against H5N1? Instead, you need to wonder whether they could play some role as a reservoir, and perhaps in viral evolution.

And as an aside, the word "feral" generally means cats living large in a community that have never been owned, and thus are not at all socialized to people--they are about as friendly as squirrels or rats, especially if you get too close or try to pick one up. "Stray" generally means a once-owned cat now living on its own--lost or abandonded or just got sick of its owner. Ferals (after about 16 weeks of age) are very hard to domesticate. Strays, once you make friends, can easily become pets.

It's not clear to me that the cats Nidom rounded up were ferals, strays or pets. Maybe a mixed bag (not that it matters much to his seroprevelance result).

Patch - cats can certainly be kept inside, but in our case, it's wildly impractical. We have a varying population of 15-25 cats whom we consider "farm employees." Their job is to keep down the rodent population in the barns and around the house. While all are pettable, well fed, and well-cared for, only one spends any time in the house.

We also have a huge feral cat population in and around our farm. Some drop in permanently and become members of the staff. Others just visit. But on any given day, there will be at least one cat that doesnt officially belong here mingling with those that do...and I presume, vice versa.

Even if H5N1 hits the US, I wouldnt voluntarily get rid of my cats, nor would I bring them inside. Im much more worried about the tourist from Asia - and an unchecked rat population has its own complications, including possibly being hosts for H5N1 themselves(?).

By SaddleTramp (not verified) on 09 Feb 2007 #permalink

Patch - moreover, it's widely considered cruel to keep cats indoors. They are not very domesticated (compared to dogs, say), and indoors is a very unnatural environment for them. You may be able to raise a cat from infancy inside, but if your cat is used to roaming freely, trying to keep it in will lead to a very unhappy cat.

By Mathematician (not verified) on 09 Feb 2007 #permalink

Patch, cats CAN be forced to stay inside against their will, just many cat owners give in to their pets' desire to go out, or they get sick of hearing the meows at the back door and let them out. I have 6 indoor cats who NEVER go out, unless of course they're on a leash, and then only occasionally. Yes, they'd prefer to roam outside. No, I will not let them as it's just too dangerous for them outside. My one outdoor cat was a stray and is simply too mean to bring inside. He attacks me, my dogs and my chickens. He also attacks other cats which is why I'm feeding one stray instead of 20! Gotta love him!

Boccaccio on the Plague
" citizen avoided another, no neighbor took care of another, and family members rarely if ever visited one another, in fact they stayed far apart. This tribulation struck such fear in the hearts of men and women that one brother abandoned another, uncles abandoned nephews, sisters abandoned brothers, often wives abandoned their husbands, and (a greater thing and barely believable) fathers and mothers abandoned their children, as if they were not even theirs."

If H5N1 becomes a pandemic and cats are established as a vector, perhaps people who let their cats outside may figure out how to keep them inside. Otherwise they might r find their pet pussy dead with a bullet in its head from some panicked neighbor. They might even find they no longer look at kitty with love, but instead look at kitty with fear. One never knows how they or others will react in such situations until they happen.

At any rate, "can't keep a cat inside" positions might well change to "must keep cat inside"

Luckily we aren't at the point yet and hopefully never will be.

Cats outdoors in this area do not last. Not the ferals nor domestics that people let wander around. They die of many things not the least of which are the lab pack the vet up the hill owns.
If I owned a cat it would be inside and that 'cruelty' thing is purely BS. All the cats I've live trapped for their own safety have been scraggly, mangy, and ill kept. Cruelty is letting them run around getting all sorts of diseases and let them get beaten up or knocked up by a feral cat.
My cats prefer the house as it is warm, safe, and dry (and that's where the food is).
And also from the following website
"Free-roaming cats are likely to come in contact with rabid wild animals and thus spread the disease to people. They pose a risk to the general public through transmission of other diseases like toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia, distemper, and roundworm."

By G in INdiana (not verified) on 09 Feb 2007 #permalink

I don't own cats, but many of our neighbors do. They often end up leaving footprints on my car in the winter, and I'm sure they pee in my vegetable garden in the summer. But those are just nuisances. If H5N1 does go pandemic, I'm going to put fliers in mailboxes for blocks around, stating that H5N1 can infect cats, and pleading with cat owners to keep them inside (or walk them on a leash). I may add that for the protection of myself and my family, I may shoot at a cat that comes on my property.

And I don't even own a gun (yet).

Although, I've been in at least one old and non-tightly constructed house where you really couldn't keep all the cats inside they'd find ways out.

I've had cats since babyhood, both "indoor" and "outdoor." My present cat spent some time as a kitten outdoors but now is very happy "register hugging" inside. A number of years ago, I tamed some feral cats who had been living for generations in the woods and fields near my home. One became my "provider" and left me various gifts of animals and parts. One day she left me a whole trout. She eventually became content to be inside. If you handle it right, cats can adapt to being in.

Re. cat prints on car hoods: it's a good idea to bang on that hood before starting the car to scare away any cat who may be curled up on your engine block.

BW I wouldn't have thought of that. I'd be seriously impressed with a cat that managed to get to the engine block, but perhaps more pertinently, I rarely come home and then go right back out again. So even if they were in there when the engine block was warm, I assume they'd have found somewhere else to be once it cooled off.

But I'll try to remember that for the rare occasions I do come right back to the car.

Now that we know that 20% of cats wandering around near bird markets had seen the virus sometime in their lives, and thus carried antibodies against it, do we know what proportion of people working around bird markets also has antibodies?

Have there been any systematic large-scale tests for antibodies to H5N1 in the human population of the countries where H5N1 is enzootic?

Astra: By my recollection (anybody remember better than me?) most seroprevalence surveys are done around human cases. But they are in populations where there are a lot of infected poultry and there so far seems to be a low prevalence neutralizing antibodies. The bird prevalence of 20% is not from a random sample so we don't really know what it is in cats around live markets, either. We need to do more surveys of other species in enzootic areas.

Mathematician: In this country, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals encourages cats to be kept indoors. They say is is cruel NOT to keep them indoors. My cat adjusted to indoor life very well. Cats are by no means less domesticated than dogs.

Revere: Indonesia has nasty policies towards foreign journalists doing exposes. Look at current media coverage of the Balibo 5 investigation for an example. Things have not improved. External political pressure would probably be more useful.

By Attack Rate (not verified) on 09 Feb 2007 #permalink

Various cats have owned me now for over 20 years. (Hopefully there are at least some readers who understand the truth of that statement.)

I feel very confident I'm correct when I say that whether a cat can or should be kept indoors depends on the individual cat and the overall situation. Each situation needs to be evaluated on the basis of its own unique circumstances. Like situational ethics.

Right now I have one outdoor cat who adopted us almost exactly ten years ago and prefers very much to be outdoors rather than inside with our two indoor cats. If (when?) H5N1 comes to this area we will try very hard to make her happy indoors until the threat passes or the flu kills us.

I'll probably put this on the Wiki: Has anybody got what feels like a good set of plans for what will happen to their four-legged "children" in the event they survive the pandemic but their caretakers don't?

Astra-Tan06 posted me up to the skinny on this and it made perfect sense. What they said was that the number of cats tested, 1 out of 5 were infected. This didnt mean they survived, only that they had it. Tan06 corrected a misconception that was floating around that the cats were surviving it. She having lived there understood the semantics a little better than us gringo's and what they were really saying was that out of the ones they caught 1 in 5. Didnt take into account the dead ones.

This merged in well with my friend Fardah there who has moved his family up country into the hills to keep them away from the city of Jakarta. He is a moderate level government worker and says that the government is reeling from all of the diasters and says that bird flu while up there on the list of things to do is so poorly handled that its nothing now but a money mill. They take the money as compensation and ask them not to farm birds. So they go and farm birds so they can get compensated for it again. If they cant farm, they meet boats out in the the Malacca Straits from Malaysia and pick up more birds at a cheaper price. Net about a buck per bird over cost.

Tom DVM can likely appreciate the fact that if this continues and they are infected that the Indons are finished and likely quite a few of us in the process.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 10 Feb 2007 #permalink


I think you've got it wrong (see my post above). Nidom's study didn't show that "1 out 5 [cats] were infected." It showed that 1 out of 5 cats had been infected sometime in the past. That may have been briefly and asymptomatically, or maybe those antibody positive cats had gotten sick but survived. Any cats that died of H5N1 weren't tested--they were dead.

It makes a difference. If 20% of the cats around a market were wandering around infected, they might be a source of infection for people. But that ain't the case.

Revere, as I recall there was the seroprevalence survey of Cambodians in March 2005, most of whom lived around chickens. Not too exciting as I remember.

Marissa: Yes. They were in a village where a 23 year old who also had sick chickens got H5N1 and died. So the survey was done because of him. This was one of the surveys I was referring to (I posted on it when it was published).

March 2006 ..."The role of other mammals
The ability of catching the H5N1 virus is not restricted to cats. Reports show infection in tigers, leopards and civets. Also dogs and pigs may become infected with the virus. Given the broad host spectrum of the H5N1 virus, the possibility that also other wild or domesticated mammals including seals, mustelidae or furbearing animals, become infected by contacting infected animals is present.

All carnivores could become infected through eating infected poultry or infected wild birds."...

Print out the March 2006 FAO Recommendations section, if you're going to put a letter-to-the editor, or stuff mailboxes, or have to educate local officials:…

(And if people say it's "too hard" to keep their cat in or only take their dog out leashed, ask how they're set to cope with months of supply chain disruptions, school closings and quarantines during a human panflu year: govt said they can't help you. Go prep.)

By crfullmoon (not verified) on 10 Feb 2007 #permalink

Boy, this is a first for me!! People actually agreeing with me!

I stick to my belief, that cats CAN be kept indoors entirely. More so, than dogs (large breed at least). Cats are pretty universal in size and the space required for exercise is adequate indoors. The trick is to give the the opporutniy to exercise properly. And possibly more importantly, entertained. Dogs on the other hand and in particular, large breed dogs, require more roaming area to get the proper amount of exercise.

Maybe not everyone agrees, but I'm happy some of you do! It's a first for me, I think!!

Patch Dogs do have to go out generally, true. But on the up side, if you have a fenced yard, it will keep your dogs in (and other dogs out). That won't work with cats. And very few people in populated areas let their dogs roam free like they do cats. So there are some controls on where dogs go, in both senses.

It'd be more problematic for apartment dwellers and in urban areas, but in towns and suburbs dog owners with yards can get them enough exercise on their own property (using leashes, fences, or those zipline dog runs) if necessary. Will they, is the question.

I suppose it depends on how nervous they are about walking around the neighborhood themselves.

At the point we have to worry about pets, we will be way more worried about the human you suppose we can keep the humans inside. /:0) 1918, we gave it to the pigs.

Have there been any cases of dogs being infected? Or is this just a theoretical possibility? I ask because I live in the UK with a very active dog. Just before this latest H5N1 news broke she ate goose droppings while on a hike. Of course I immediately thought of that when the suspicion was that a wild bird spread the virus.

(And yes, I know you shouldn't kiss your dog, but I only seem to remember that belatedly.)

What would be the likelihood of dogs passing it on to humans? I didn't think they could even play host to flu.

KathyF, scroll up to my post and read the FAO link; your answer is there.

(Haven't you heard about the horse influenza that suddenly became infectious to dogs a while back? (2004) I have to Google which number H /N that one is: H3N8

...Has it only been happening in the US? One theory; they fed dogs raw infected horse meat. It then can be horizontally transmitted.)

(Wish the KathyF I know, in England, is getting her family ready in case of a pandemic influenza year; probably a very common name.) All the best to you, commenter!

Look at the run-around here; sound familiar? Info, but, no one's "job" to get the word out...

Did all the vets get word of the 2006 FAO report and get the word out to their public? Doesn't sound so; what good is information when only released after a local crisis? Have to be proactive, and repeat good information, not reassurring spin, to educate people to change habits.

By crfullmoon (not verified) on 11 Feb 2007 #permalink

crfullmoon; The H3N8 among dogs (from horses) was widely reported in the media (and here). Like a lot of things, most people don't know it, but it wasn't kept a secret.

The question may not be whether cats will infect humans with H5N1 but whether humans will infect cats - as cats may be a more highly evolved species.

My Sweetiepie - a picture of whom is at - who was with me for almost 14 years, was the closest I have known to an angel; and if any human being had tried to harm her for any reason I would have done whatever was necessary to stop that from happening.

I don't know if she was a typical cat or the Divine Incarnation of felines, but when she died in 2002 I felt as if the whole world had lost its soul. I'm not sure I feel differently now.

The reason I asked was that I was confused by the word "may" as in "dogs and pigs may become infected". Does this mean that dogs have actually been infected?

I'm not a scientist, so please pardon my questions if the answer is obvious. I know they like to hedge their bets!

I also saw the recommendation to keep dogs on a lead. That will probably be heeded about as well as the "Please keep dogs on a lead" notices in Regents Park.

One of four things will happen if it comes in High Path. First they come in and stay.Second they go out and stay and dont come back until they have been tested. Third you put them in or out and care for them and they infect you somehow. Fourth, government orders the destruction of all pets not unlike the cull orders in Jakarta.

Its all about the assumptions. This will be a local or state order and based upon pure hype when it comes. The media will play up anything sensational right up until the time the government puts a clamp down on them.

Headlines: Cats Infected With Bird Flu. Government Orders Destruction Of All Pets. Couric would have a field day with this and they would have the highest ratings ever. Hype. Shit yeah.

The Mercury Theater production of H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" comes to mind only this time a real alien has landed. Can they do that, take and destroy your pets? Yep, and they would likely have the pet Gestapo hauling them out to do it. Its reasonable to assume that those farm cat employees would be the first to go in a blaze of 12 gauge gunfire. But Tom would likely back me up here that it would be like shooting guppy's. The mice would be infected too and you might cull the cats and mice too but you aint gonna get them all. A good kennel with covered sides and taking the dog for a run but not a walk with his face up off the ground likely will mean he makes it. Domesticating those inside/outside cats to just inside is going to get messy but it is feasible. I have done it but with everything else that will be going on, I dont want that problem. Put them down?

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 12 Feb 2007 #permalink

MRK: Interesting comment about the "farm employees." My guess, though, would be that, based on the organization and attitude of our local government re a pandemic (minimal, at best), door to door culling of local pets would be far down the list. And PETA, ASPCA, HSUS, etc., would have a lot to say on the subject.

I think that, like in Europe and the UK last year, a lot of people will simply abandon their animals - drop them off at the pound, take them to the dump, leave them at the end of my (or some other farmers) driveway, etc. Happens all the time now, why should a pandemic be any different? I have seven dogs that are rescues already. Im planning for that number to go up dramatically. And for roving bands of feral/abandoned dogs to threaten my livestock.

The feral cats would be at risk for pot-shots from the local rednecks, just as they are now.

I agree with the guppies comment - you'll never get them all. I would put my cats down if they were sick and dying, but not before. Same with the chickens, thousands of wild geese, the starlings and pigeons....

Farmers can't just hunker down inside the ole farmhouse. We can't escape Nature although I (and 13 other family members) do plan to SIP here for up to a year. Every day, we will have livestock to care for, water to draw, firewood to bring in. And probably sick to care for and dead to bury.

I suspect that the cats will be the least of my problems.

By SaddleTramp (not verified) on 12 Feb 2007 #permalink

KathyF: Most people here aren't scientists (and some of them wonder about me, although I assure you I am a scientist). No question is too dumb, although some of my answers might be. A lot of questions have been dealt with here before, and this is an example (I am not criticizing; we are glad to have new readers). Dogs have been infected and there is a paper online about it. Dogs also get other subtypes of influenza (currently H3N8 which also infects horses and is the big problem in the US). Our post about H5N1 in dogs with the link to the scientific paper is here. Welcome to Effect Measure.

Thanks, revere, I have just explained to the dog that she is no longer allowed to indulge in the occasional goose dropping. It breaks her heart, as she found them a special delicacy, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

(I'll alert my friends with free range dogs as well.)

Interesting thread, this one, with a couple lessons.

1) People are passionate about their pets--cats, dogs, birds or whatever. They would resist even a well-thought out, scientifically justified order to destroy them. A half-baked, hasty order--like MRKs hypothetical--would cause major problems, all for no gain.

2) People look for scapegoats to sacrifice, especially when it comes to viruses or other "invisible" threats (radiation, communists); see caia's post above (That person should remember that shooting a neighbor's pet could be a risky business--the cats won't have guns, but the owner well might. Do you really think a cat wandering in your yard is going to give you flu?)

3) Careless or misinformed statements to the public about public health causes big trouble. Example: the Jakarta US Embassy's claim that studies show that cats around markets "carry" H5N1. Revere, please correct me if I'm wrong, but no study showed that. The study showed that the cats had antibodies against H5N1, indicating they had been exposed at some point in the past. By saying that 20% "carry the virus", that statement implied that cats around the markets studies present a substantial threat to people. They don't.

Rob: You are correct about the Nidom "study" but cats can become actively infected and infectious to other cats. Whether they can pass it on to humans or other animals we don't know.

Saddle-Be advised. If they declare a state of emergency and the specific order is for everyone to stay inside, farmers had better stay inside. The new Homeland Security Act would be covering most of it but truly its more state by state. Dont think for one minute they wont enforce it because those farms are likely going to be reservoirs. Arrest and detention? Probably and in the county lockup with a bunch of infected people who got that way while foraging for food. The media will play a large role in this and what the outcomes are. Sagging ratings will go up and the advertisers of course will love that. Only problem is that no one will be able to go out and buy anything. A responsible media (is there such a thing?) will simply report the news and not hype that we had to kill a whole dog pound as they did in Europe last year. PETA and the other groups who might want to have something to say about it will not be allowed to say a thing about it. I dont think anyone fully understands what a declaration of a state of emergency or federal state of emergency will empower our government to do. Better to hope that it stays with the states where you have some input. I expect that HCW's that fail to show up for work will be hauled in to the hospitals unless they are sick. People will applaud that action, but killing of pets would be vilified like there was no tommorow by the media. Very, very bad things will happen to any PETA member who shows up to stop it. I could cost them their lives. The governments will issue orders, they will be carried out. They wont care if someone cows are dying from lack of food. Orders given, orders will be followed. Police state for about three months if its a single wave. Then you can sue afterwards, but it will come to naught because it was an order issued during an emergency. Buy insurance.....

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 12 Feb 2007 #permalink

"People are passionate about their pets--cats, dogs, birds or whatever."

Rob, this is a "specieist" remark because it implies that these animals exist for the sake of the humans who care for them and not for their own experience of life and spiritual evolution over many lifetimes (yes, you may have been - or become - one of them).

They are not pets - they are animals who are cared for, if they are lucky, by humans.

This position does not imply a belief in vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian myself, but I don't think of cows as "livestock." The point is to realize that these animals who provide us with love and food - among other things - are sensitive creatures, like ourselves, and highly deserve our respect if not reverence.

P.S. The word "spiritual," as I used it, does not imply a belief in nonphysical entities that are not part and parcel of the perceivable and measurable universe.

Actually it seems clear that there are no entities at all apart from the Universe itself, but that's venturing into the realm of madness...

MRK: ..."I expect that HCW's that fail to show up for work will be hauled in to the hospitals unless they are sick. People will applaud that action"...

They may not; many have friends or family who are hcw, and information may leak out anyway, about cfr, and gauze masks, and the public figuring out all health care is going to circle the drain and gurgle away under current conditions come pandemic.

If the govt lets people lose too many in the first few days, survivors will have nothing left to lose, and nothing to gain by being compliant.

If the public cares about their cats and dogs, how much more are they going to be outraged at threats to their grandparents, spouses, and children?

By crfullmoon (not verified) on 13 Feb 2007 #permalink