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'Holy Mary, Help Us in Our Hour of Need!'
By Philip Bethge
A mysterious illness is causing calves to bleed to death on German farms. Veterinarians are stumped over what is causing the deaths: vaccines, genetically modified feed or perhaps even the first mother's milk?
What can a cattle farmer do when he sees blood running from his calves like water, when they become lethargic and febrile and, by the next morning, are lying dead on the floor, their coats covered in blood?
"Our calves from last summer looked like they had been beaten," says farmer Robert Meyboom, who is still shocked and perplexed today. "The animals' bodies were covered with drops of blood, and their eyes were bloodshot."
The veterinarian tried everything, he says, including administering vitamins and blood-clotting agents. But nothing worked, and "within two or three days, they were all dead."
"Do nothing!" says the veterinarian. "Whatever you do, don't touch them! You will injure the calf the minute you touch it, and it will hemorrhage. Then you won't be able to do anything else for the animal."