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Why Cattle Are Bigger & Bulkier: Drugs

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Ray Bozzacco, meat manager for the Meijer’s supermarket chain in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says simply that “bigger isn’t always better.” In a 2005 beef-industry survey, restauranteurs and food executives complained about “heavy carcasses, inappropriately-sized rib-eyes, and tough steaks that lacked the marbled fat that gives them flavor.”

Few academics offer such warnings, notes the Chronicle of Higher Education. Indeed, Ty E. Lawrence, an associate professor of animal science at West Texas A&M University, and Bradley J. Johnson, a professor of meat science and muscle biology at Texas Tech University, have both written scientific articles about Zilmax with company employees. A 2010 article in the Journal of Animal Science by Lawrence was a review of previously published research — much of it financed by Intervet — on the drug. Moreover, he was the highest-paid associate professor at his university last year, making $101,000 (as compared to the median salary for associate professors there of $60,000).

The effects of drugs like Zilmax on the cattle, and on human beings who eat beef from animals given it, are yet unknown. The FDA has received at least six reports detailing how one or more cattle died after eating feed mixed with Zilmax, says the Chronicle of Higher Education. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, has reported that “Zilmax and Optaflexx appear to cause cattle to become heat stressed and go lame, especially on hot days,” after observing animals in a slaughterhouse.

If so many animal scientists are in, as it were, the pay of pharmaceutical companies, there need to be far more regulations about such relationships, for the sake of consumers and, certainly, of the animals themselves.

Related Care2 Coverage

Single Mad Cow Disease Case Confirmed in California

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8:51AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

The drugs they give to the cattle end up in our digestive system! This is why I have reduced my meat intake to about 1/4th or less of what it used to be. I grew up in a "meat and potatoes" home. Now my home is a veggies home and the only time I know I will be eating meat is at family gatherings over the holidays. It keeps the peace with my 90 year old mother as she still cooks!

5:24AM PDT on May 20, 2012

thanks for sharing

1:11AM PDT on May 15, 2012

Yeah, I know, Colleen........and the same people who scream about cows being given drugs to muscle up or breed bigger calves (selective breeding) will go out and buy a designer dog because they think it's cute, or they'll breed their own mutt to whatever without a thought to the results. A hairier dog, smaller dog (Chihuahuas), a taller dog, a "longer" dog (with Doxies), a meaner dog, an uglier dog or whatever is in "fad" is all they care about.

12:09PM PDT on May 13, 2012


11:43AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Got a couple of chicks from my daughter to keep and raise as pets.

Went to the pet shop to buy food for them and was told I should get some Tetracycline to add to their water for a week or two!

Are they kidding me? That's an antibiotic - to give to perfectly healthy chicks????

Drug company corruption - it's everywhere!

8:52AM PDT on May 12, 2012

That is very nasty to mess around with animal genetics; leave things alone. Please consider going vegetarian in response to all the genetic engineering and drugs fed to animals. Disgusting!

12:36AM PDT on May 11, 2012

Of course growth hormones are a factor, but so is selective breeding and better conditions under which the most "prime" breeding prospects are kept. Humans are bigger than they were centuries ago, or even decades ago. As a long time horse owner, I know that my breed of choice is now much taller than their ancestors were. It's from better feed, less harsh environment and better vet care. The biggest, most "fit" animals are kept for breeding, so it only makes sense that eventually, the offspring of those animals will result in being bigger, themselves.

6:06AM PDT on May 10, 2012

Happy to be a vegetarian.

2:37AM PDT on May 10, 2012

This abusive to animal and human If you get a disease and the only treatment is antibiotics good luck!!!

6:34PM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thanks for the information.

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