May 18, 2001 (To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
1. Cattle Diet Unhealthy for
2. Pig Farmers Lose with Growth-Promoting Drugs
3. Pig Growth Promoters Causing Antibiotic Resistance
4. Noxious Fumes Attributed to IBP
5. EPA Dioxin Report May Cost Animal Industries
6. 3 Million Teachers Using Beef Association Information
7. Industry Decries British Anti-Milk Campaign
8. Brazil Wants to Kill to Control Foot-and-Mouth Disease
9. Retrospective on Britain’s Foot-and-Mouth Response
10. Avian Flu: Hong Kong Killing Chickens Again
11. McDonald’s Indian Fries Test Negative
12. McDonald’s Decreased Earnings Attributed to Foreign Troubles
13. Cloners Neglect Animal Welfare
14. Cloning Pigs for Human Transplantation
1. CATTLE DIET UNHEALTHY FOR ALL
The diet typically fed to cattle prior to slaughter, consisting of 90-100% grain, results in animal disease and an increased use of antibiotics, and puts humans at risk, points out a Cornell study published in the journal “Science.” The high-grain diet causes cattle to gain weight about 3 times faster than would a more natural diet of hay, but also causes ulcers which then allow potentially lethal bacteria to migrate to the liver (13% of the animals have liver abscesses). Antibiotics are used to limit this or an estimated 75% of the animals’ livers would be abscessed. Overuse of antibiotics, however, can cause bacteria to become resistant to them. High grain diets also cause bloat, liver failure and other problems which kill about 3 of every 1,000 cattle in feedlots. The researcher recommends cattle be allowed to graze more or be fed more hay or other high-fiber food.
“Cattle Feedlot Studied,” Associated Press, Paul Recer, May 10, 2001.
“Healthier Cattle Feed Benefits Animals and People,” Reuters Health, Amy Norton, May 10, 2001
2. PIG FARMERS LOSE WITH GROWTH-PROMOTING DRUGS
The use of growth-promoting antibiotics in the pig industry increases the pork supply and decreases prices, ultimately costing producers. A USDA Economic Research Service study calculated that producers who used the antibiotics in 1999 collectively lost $45.5 million from the expense and reduced prices. Some 20-25 million pounds of antibiotics are used annually in animal agriculture, with as much as 70% used for growth promotion rather than medicinal purposes. (To prevent bacterial resistance, the European Union has banned the administration of antibiotics to healthy animals if the drugs are used in human medicine.) Weight gains vary by species, with “dairy calves” increasing up to 60%, pigs 10% and “beef cattle” 6%.
“Study: Farm Drugs Losing Money,” Associated Press, Philip Brasher, May 15, 2001.
3. PIG GROWTH PROMOTERS CAUSING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
For 50 years, U.S. farmers have been using antibiotics, such as tetracycline, to promote pig growth. Bacteria which becomes resistance to the antibiotics (which are also administered to cattle), generate in the gastrointestinal tracts of pigs and cattle. Illinois researchers have discovered tetracycline-resistant bacteria in soil and groundwater near pig production facilities. The bacteria can travel far through the environment, get into drinking water, and pass into people and other animals, thus creating a cycle of resistant bacteria.
“Swine Growth Promoters Causing Antibiotic Resistance,” AgWeb, May 16, 2001.
4. NOXIOUS FUMES ATTRIBUTED TO IBP
A first-of-its kind scientific study, conducted in Sioux City, Nebraska, connects high levels of hydrogen sulfide air pollution and increased emergency room visits for respiratory diseases. Residents are calling for stricter emission standards and enforcement for industries which generate the rotten-egg-smelling gas, in particular IBP’s nearby tannery and meatpacking plant. The company says its waste treatment lagoons will soon be covered, and that should virtually eliminate release of the gas. State officials are calling for more studies.
“Sniffing Out Problem in South Sioux City,” Omaha World-Herald, Paul Hammel, May 11, 2001.
5. EPA DIOXIN REPORT MAY COST ANIMAL INDUSTRIES
An EPA report that dioxin causes cancer in animals, possibly in people, is headed to federal regulators following a unanimous scientific advisory committee vote. The findings could prove costly to beef, poultry and chemical industries if dioxin limits are imposed. A primary form of dioxin is an air pollutant created by the burning of plastic and medical waste. It lands on vegetation and is consumed by farmed animals, accumulates in their fat, and passes on to human consumers. The chair of the advisory committee said the report’s key finding is that “diet is the principal root of exposure” for people consuming even small quantities of dioxin through dairy products and fatty foods.
“EPA Agrees Dioxin Poses Cancer Risk,” Associated Press, John Heilprin, May 15, 2001.
6. 3 MILLION TEACHERS USING BEEF ASSOCIATION INFORMATION
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is distributing a flyer to public school teachers nationwide to solicit use of its educational materials. The materials cover such topics as nutrition, the environment, and consumer sciences. Last year, a reported 170,000 teaching aids were distributed, reaching 3 million students. The materials can be viewed at: http://www.TeachFree.com
“Cattlemen Claim 3 Million Teachers Used Beef-Related Educational Kits,” May 16, 2001.
7. INDUSTRY DECRIES BRITISH ANTI-MILK CAMPAIGN
PETA’s new anti-milk campaign, designed for British schoolchildren, has met a colicky response from the nation’s agricultural interests. The campaign features “Milk Sucker” cartoon characters, each afflicted with an embarrassing condition attributed to milk drinking. Chubby Charlie, Phlegmy Phil, Spotty (pimply) Sue, Windy Wendy, and others are depicted on trading cards with health information on the back. The critics charge the health claims are unfounded.
“Farmers condemn anti-milk campaign aimed at children,” The Telegraph, David Brown, May 16, 2001.
8. BRAZIL WANTS TO KILL TO CONTROL
The Brazilian Agriculture Ministry is calling for the killing of hundreds of cattle infected with Foot-and-Mouth Disease and cattle on neighboring properties, which could amount to thousands of uninfected animals. Opponents, including agriculture officials in a southern state, where 11,000 animals were killed last year to stop an outbreak of the disease, oppose the plan. They argue that the resultant slaughter of at least 400,000 animals could lead to mass unemployment and billions of dollars of lost revenue. They also point out the futility of the plan since neighboring countries infected with the disease are not killing animals. Brazil had begun vaccinating millions of cattle last week.
“Brazil Supports Culling to Control FMD,” AgWeb News, Darcy Maulsby, May 16, 2001
9. RETROSPECTIVE ON BRITAIN’S
Now with about 5 new outbreaks per day, down from 40 at the crisis’s peak, and with a total of some 1575 outbreaks and 2.6 million animals killed, British veterinarians are criticizing the way the government handled the epidemic. Two studies indicate many healthy animals could have been spared. Blood tests from the outbreaks, which show 29% of the cases were negative, support the criticism.
“Post-mortem,” New Scientist, Andy Coghlan, May 11, 2001.
10. AVIAN FLU: HONG KONG KILLING CHICKENS AGAIN
More than 7,000 chickens were killed in Hong Kong on May 16th after nearly 800 chickens died of avian influenza at 3 markets within 24 hours. In 1997, the government killed the country’s 1.4 million poultry population in an attempt to stop a strain of the flu that also killed 6 people. The government claims the current strain is not likely be harmful to humans.
“HK Wont Rule Out More Bird Slaughter to Curb Flu,” Reuters, May 17, 2001.
11. MCDONALD’S INDIAN FRIES TEST NEGATIVE
French fries from McDonald’s outlets in India were found to be free of animal fat in tests conducted by the Indian FDA and a municipal laboratory. Five samples each of fries and palm oil were tested. The company has admitted using beef fat to flavor its fries in the U.S.
“McDonald’s gets clean chit in India,” United Press International, Virtual New York, May 15, 2001
12. MCDONALD’S DECREASED EARNINGS ATTRIBUTED TO FOREIGN TROUBLES
McDonald’s second consecutive quarterly decline in earnings is being attributed to foreign problems, including foot-and-mouth disease. Almost half of the company’s operating profits come from other countries. New non-hamburger offerings in the U.S. are expected to boost future profits.
“McDonald’s foreign woes to dominate annual meeting,” Reuters Limited, Deborah Cohen, May 15, 2001.
13. CLONERS NEGLECT ANIMAL WELFARE
Companies cloning farmed animals are moving too fast without considering the full consequences on animal welfare or food safety, admonishes Ian Wilmut, the lead scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep. Evidence of an increasingly wide range of cloning defects continue to be found, including enlarged tongues, squashed faces, bad kidneys, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies, diabetes and shortened tendons that "twist feet into useless curves." One researcher suggests that all cloned animals have some sort of “errors.”
“Cloning ‘has to do Better on Animal Welfare,’” Electronic Telegraph, Robert Uhlig, May 17, 2001.
14. CLONING PIGS FOR HUMAN TRANSPLANTATION
Two U.S. biotech firms are collaborating on the cloning of genetically engineered pigs to be used for tissue and organ production for human transplantation. The companies are looking to create pigs lacking the enzymes that cause violent immune reactions in humans, and viruses that may cause human disease. Despite scientific obstacles that have beset xenotransplantation for 2 decades, the hope is to create such a pig within 3 years, with the resultant organs to be tested in primate and then humans.
“Modified Swine Would Provide Organs for Humans,” The Boston Globe, Naomi Aoki, May 9, 2001.
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