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.
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