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Factory Farms Breed Dangerous Food

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Promoting Growth at Any Cost
Factory farms strive to increase the number of animals they raise every year. To do so, however, they use some practices that present health concerns for consumers.

With the approval of the FDA and USDA, factory farms in the United States use hormones (and antibiotics, as discussed earlier) to promote growth and milk production in beef and dairy cattle, respectively. Regulations do prohibit the use of hormones in pigs and poultry. Unfortunately, this restriction doesn’t apply to antibiotic use in these animals.

An estimated two-thirds of all U.S. cattle raised for slaughter are injected with growth hormones.8 Six different hormones are used on beef cattle, three of which occur naturally, and three of which are synthetic.9 Beef hormones have been banned in the European Union since the 1980′s. The European Commission appointed a committee to study their safety for humans. Its 1999 report found that residues in meat from injected animals could affect the hormonal balance of humans, causing reproductive issues and breast, prostate or colon cancer. The European Union has prohibited the import of all beef treated with hormones, which means it does not accept any U.S. beef.

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is a genetically engineered, artificial growth hormone injected into dairy cattle to increase their milk production by anywhere from 8 to 17 percent. The FDA approved rBGH in 1993, based solely on an unpublished study submitted by Monsanto. Canada, Australia, Japan and the European Union all have prohibited the use of rBGH.

Approximately 22 percent of all dairy cows in the United States. are injected with the hormone, but 54 percent of large herds (500 animals or more), such as those found on factory farms, use rBGH. Its use has increased bacterial udder infections in cows by 25 percent, thereby increasing the need for antibiotics to treat the infections.

In addition, the milk from cows injected with rBGH has higher levels of another hormone called Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). Elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans have been linked to colon and breast cancer.15 Researchers believe there may be an association between the increase in twin births over the past 30 years and elevated levels of IGF-1 in humans.

Next: Unwholesome, Unsanitary and Inhumane Conditions

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5:42PM PDT on Aug 22, 2010

Please read the latest on the recent egg recall here--

11:50AM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

This is sad. For those who occasionally eat meat locally grown seems safest. thanks.

3:17AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

The overall danger seems to be that industrial livestock husbandry for meat production is indicated as a decisive factor in the evolution and spread of disease as well as in the doubtful fitness for consumption of the meat produced.


4:32PM PST on Jan 28, 2010

scary when they start talking about all the diseases that comes from stuff.

9:57PM PDT on Sep 5, 2009

More good reasons to buy meat from small, local farms that practice methods of animal husbandry that have been used for thousands of years...

5:59PM PDT on Aug 25, 2009

This is just another reason not to use animals as commodities, as food, along with cruelty reasons - you can't use a sentient being as a cheap commodity and expect no deleterious effects

6:20AM PDT on Aug 25, 2009

It's important that if you are buying meat from local farmers that you talk with them about their practices and if possible, visit the farm. I've started doing that in my community and it's been very informative and fun developing relationships with local farmers. I also buy flour from a local farmer/miller to avoid pesticides and additives in my flour and oatmeal. I believe that voting with our pocket books and taking our dollars away from the factory farms will have the biggest impact on changing the deplorable conditions on American factory farms.

11:18PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

This article was very informative. I'm so sad to hear the treatment of these poor animals. It brought tears to my house. I can't believe we have such deplorable and unhealthy practices in the US. We need to bring attention to people we know so they stop supporting factory raised food.

3:30PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

I'd have to agree with Randolph D., though it sounds radical. Based on the actions of the FDA, I have come to the conclusion that they are not here to protect us, but to keep us just beyond arms length to the industries and big businesses that continue to poison us. It is clear they make the decisions continuously to benefit big agri-business over the health of citizens. Look to Europe, Japan, and a few other more completely civilized nations for food answers.....not the USA.

1:59PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

It breaks my heart to know how animals live in these hell holes. that's why I went vegan 3 years ago.

Not on the list above are bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV), the equivalent of the AIDS virus in cows, which can infect human cells. There's also bovine leukemia. As far as I know 9 out of 10 herds are infected with one of the other or both.

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