Inside Farming: Hormones Are Everywhere, Including In You

By: Chloe Gresel, CanACT member, University of Guelph

The beef with growth implants in cattle production

Many Canadians actively search for hormone-free beef for their next meal, but hormonal implants may not be the enemy. In reality, growth implants help beef animals convert feed more efficiently, which results in leaner meat and keeps the price of beef more reasonable for the consumer. In addition, the levels of horses in these animals not be as worrisome as some think. Photo by Rudolph Spruit

Many Canadians actively search for hormone-free beef for their next meal, but hormonal implants may not be the enemy. In reality, growth implants help beef animals convert feed more efficiently, which results in leaner meat and keeps the price of beef more reasonable for the consumer. In addition, the levels of horses in these animals not be as worrisome as some think. Photo by Rudolph Spruit

There is much buzz in today’s media about wanting hormone free meat. Can I let you in on a secret? There is no such thing. You see, just like humans, all animals have naturally occurring hormones in their bodies. What the consumer is actually trying to get when they ask for “hormone-free beef” is animals that are raised with no hormones outside of their own. Companies such as A&W are trying to scare consumers into thinking that their products are better because they are using beef that is raised without growth hormone implants.

Can I let you in on another secret? Implants are not the enemy. Growth implants are used to help beef animals convert feed more efficiently. This means the animals develop more lean meat and grow more on less feed. Beef animals that are implanted have increased weight gain from 5 to 23 per cent and convert feed to meat 3 to 11 per cent more efficiently than non-implanted cattle. By using less feed, costs are reduced for the farmer and beef is kept at a reasonable price for the consumer. There is also a smaller environmental impact when cattle are implanted, as farmers are using fewer resources to get them finished and ready for harvesting. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Animal Science stated that if we were to remove growth implants from our cattle production system, we would need 10 per cent more cattle, 10 per cent more land and feed, and 7 per cent more fuel and fertilizers to raise the same amount of beef.

You might be thinking that it’s great that implanted beef has a smaller environmental impact, but you still don’t want all those extra hormones in your own body. Well then, let me share this tidbit of information: 15 ml of soybean oil has over 28,700 nanograms of plant estrogen, while a 100 gram serving of beef raised with growth hormones has only 2.2 nanograms. Surprising, isn’t it? Studies have shown that there are greater differences in hormone levels between the different sexes of cattle then there are between cattle raised with growth hormones versus cattle raised without growth hormones. Continue reading

Local meat processor wins award for allergen-free meat products

By Lilian Schaer

Heidelberg – They built their business on the power of local long before it was popular and their allergen-free meat products are a life-line to many food allergy sufferers.

These efforts have won Waterloo Region’s Stemmler Meats and Cheese a Premier’s Award for Innovation and they’ve also just been named a finalist for a prestigious innovation award from the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. “Anytime you have an honour like this, especially from your peers and in an industry that is so diverse, it is very humbling,” says Kevin Stemmler.

Photo from left, brothers Kevin (squatting), Terry and Shawn Stemmler of Stemmler Meats and Cheese in Heidelberg, ON.

Continue reading

In Defense of Milk

Guest blog:  Sarah Hubbart is the communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

 

Popular food writer Mark Bittman penned a 900-word diatribe against milk – of all things! – over the weekend for the New York Times. Continue reading

Why are you choosing organic?

Guest Blog: Lisa McLean, Agricultural communicator

I am fortunate to surround myself with a number of strong, intelligent, critical-thinking friends. Many of them are also parents, and all of them want the very best for their families.  Continue reading

Least Harm Principle suggests humans should eat beef, lamb, dairy, not a vegan diet.

By S.L. Davis, Department of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.
Published in the Proceedings of the Third Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics, 2001, pp 440-450.

Introduction

Although the debate over the moral status of animals has been going on for thousands of years (Shapiro, 2000), there has been a resurgence of interest in this issue in the last quarter of the 20th century. Continue reading

First U.S. count finds 1 in 200 kids are vegetarian

By Mike Stobbe, Associated Press, Jan 07, 2009

Sam Silverman is co-captain of his high school football team — a safety accustomed to bruising collisions. But that’s nothing compared with the abuse he gets for being a vegetarian.

”I get a lot of flak for it in the locker room,” said the 16-year-old junior at Westborough High School in Massachusetts.

”All the time, my friends try to get me to eat meat and tell me how good it tastes and how much bigger I would be,” said Silverman, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. ”But for me, there’s no real temptation.” Continue reading