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
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
Guest Blog by Steve Kopperund, Ag issues consultant
I’ve decided the general media are pretty much amateurs or hacks when it comes to accurately covering issues in food and agriculture. In no other area of our lives – including the arcane world of high finance – does a single profession get it wrong so much of the time. I’m allowed to say this out loud because I was a general newspaper reporter before I was an agbiz reporter/editor before I was a lobbyist. Continue reading
This is an interesting perspective on science and politics. There are lots of parallels between the misconceptions and debates around climate change and those around animal welfare – OFAC.
By Ronald L. Doering
In spite of the media treatment of them, there is nothing that is surprising about the now famous Climategate emails. Surprise could only come from a misunderstanding of the relationship between science, policy and politics. Of course the emails reveal that the climate scientists were affected by policy and political considerations. They had to be. Science, policy and politics are inextricably intertwined. What is surprising is how much our public discourse is still dominated by the quaint utopian view that science and policy can be strictly separated. Continue reading
08Dec19 By SHANNON RUCKMAN, The Prairie Star editor
BILLINGS, Mont. – With close to 10 million horses in the nation, Montana horse owners and enthusiasts are concerned about the welfare of the equine industry if legislation is passed banning the transport of horses to slaughter facilities. Continue reading
Posted By Chris Zwick
November 12, 2008
Livestock haulers and handlers across the country will soon require certification to transport livestock, but luckily enough the Fairview college campus is offering a one-day Certified Livestock Transport training program on Nov. 15. Continue reading
Feedstuffs, (12/25/2008) ,
The National Meat Assn. (NMA) has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in California seeking to overturn part of a California law passed this summer that bans the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock for meat for human consumption, and the American Meat Institute (AMI) has moved to intervene in and broaden the action, according to an announcement yesterday. Continue reading
Source: FDA, 22.dec.08
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that the District Court for the Western District of Missouri entered a Consent Decree on Dec. 15, 2008, prohibiting Milbank Mills, an animal feed mill in Chillicothe, Mo., from manufacturing, processing, or distributing medicated animal feed. Milbank Mills and its officers Edward P. Milbank and Darrell L. Allen, face these restrictions until they comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) requirements for medicated animal feeds.
10.dec.08, Wall Street Journal
Alicia Mundy and Jared Favole
The Food and Drug Administration said it would continue allowing the widespread use of a class of powerful antibiotics in food-producing animals, making a last-minute reversal after calling the practice a public-health risk in July. Continue reading