There are currently 1.28 billion cattle populating the earth. They occupy nearly 24 percent of the landmass of the planet. Their combined weight exceeds that of the earth's entire human population. However, most people are totally unaware of just what it is they are eating when they put that hamburger in their mouth. The Cattle Industry not only forces the cows to live in horribly inhumane conditions, eat filth and animal food, which is unnatural for them to eat, but puts your health in danger from consuming their products which are tainted with growth hormones, raised in a sick and unnatural environment, and produce toxic meat. Immediately after birth, male calves are castrated to make them more "docile", and to improve the quality of their meat. To ensure that the animals will not injure each other, they are dehorned with a chemical paste that burns out their horns' roots. Neither of these procedures is done with anesthesia. There are about 42,000 feedlots in 13 major cattle-feeding states in the United states. The feedlot is generaly a fenced-in area with a concrete feed trough along one side. In many of the larger feedlots, thousands of cattle are crowded together side by side in severely cramped quarters. To obtain the optimum weight gain in the minimum time, feedlot managers administer a variety of pharmaceuticals to their cattle, including growth-stimulating hormones and feed additives.
Anabolic steroids, in the form of small time-release pellets, are implanted in the animals' ears. cattle are given estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone. The hormones stimulate the cells to produce additional protein, adding muscle and fat tissue more rapidly.
Today 80 percent of all the herbicides used in the United States are sprayed on
corn and soybeans. After being consumed by the cattle, these herbicides
accumulate in their bodies and are passed along to the consumer in finished cuts
of beef. Beef now ranks number one in herbicide contamination and number two in
overall pesticide contamination. Beef cattle are also fed dead pigs, horses, poultry and chicken manure, which may contain Salmonella and Campylobacter. Although the feeding of cow and sheep parts back to these ruminants is now banned because it spread mad cow disease in Europe, U.S. cows can still be fed ruminant blood and fat. These practices potentially expose us to fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of "mad cow." Growth hormones are administered to two-thirds of the approximately 36 million beef cattle raised yearly in the U.S., Janet Raloff reports in Science News. Spills of hormone-laced excrement pollute water. A study led by Louis J. Guillette at the University of Florida and Ana M. Soto of Tufts University School of Medicine found hormones and fish with deformed testes in rivers downstream of Nebraska feedlots. Some feedlots now expiriment with adding cardboard, newspapers, and sawdust to the feed to reduce costs. Other factory farms scrape up the manure from chicken houses and pigpens and add it directly to cattle feed. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials say that it is not uncommon for some feedlot operators to mix industrial sewage and oils into the feed to reduce costs and fatten animals more quickly. |
The overcrowding, filth and lack of exercise, and the unnatural and disgusting diet that cattle endure, cause their resistance to disease to be eliminated, since cattle were meant to live on grass, and roam the pastureland. Calves have no need of regular medication while on grass, but as soon as they're placed in the backgrounding pen [and fed filth] they get sick. After weaning, animals are dosed with antibiotics every day of their lives. As a result, bacteria ? including some strains of E. coli and Salmonella ? have developed antibiotic resistance. Studies published in 2001 in The New England Journal of Medicine indicate that many food-borne and other illnesses in people are now not responding to the usual antibiotics. Baytril, a drug similar to Cipro, is widely fed to chickens, potentially reducing Cipro's effectiveness against diseases such as anthrax.
There are many health problems
linked with eating beef and dairy products. In feed lots across the country, beef cattle are given the growth hormone Zeranol, a synthetic estrogen implanted in cattle. A series of tests done for the Pentagon show a possible link between breast cancer and Zeranol. In the lab, researchers at Ohio State University mixed beef from Zeranol-treated cows with human breast cancer cells and saw "significant" cancer cell growth -- in some cases at levels 30 times lower than the government says is safe. Concerned about possible long-term effects, they write: "consumption of food ... derived from ... animals treated with Zeranol poses a potential health risk to consumers."
Harvard scientists found that women who had beef, lamb, or pork as a daily main dish ran two and a half times the risk of developing colon cancers than did those who ate the meats less than once a month. The conclusions are drawn from a study of 88,751 nurses that was begun in 1980. Eating beef has also been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes. In the Adventist Health Study, men consuming beef increased the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. Those who ate beef up to three times a week had a risk nearly two times greater than those who said they never ate beef. And men who consumed beef more than three times a week showed more than twice the relative risk compared to those who never ate beef. Then there's the matter of irradiated beef. Irradiated Beef is now commonplace. As if all the other heath risks associated with beef aren't enough to stop you from eating that hamburger, consider this: Irradiated Beef poses Cancer, Genetic and Other Risks. "The government's assertion that irradiated food is safe for human consumption does not even pass the laugh test," states Samuel S. Epstein,M.D., emeritus professor of environmental medicine at University of Illinois School of Public Health, Chicago. "Exposing American's to the hazards of irradiated food is reckless endangerment, compounded by the absence of any warning to consumers".
Irradiated meat is a very different product than natural meat. This
is hardly surprising as the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approved
irradiation dosage of 450,000 rads is approximately 150 million times
greater than that of a chest x-ray. Apart from high levels of benzene, new
chemicals known as "unique radiolytic products" were identified in
irradiated meat in U.S. Army tests in 1977 and recognized as carcinogenic.
Later tests identified other chemicals shown to induce genetic toxicity.
In sharp contrast the FDA's claims of safety, based on grossly inadequate
testing which fails to meet the agency's minimal standards were
explicitly rebutted by its own expert committees. There is well-documented
scientific evidence that eating irradiated meat poses grave risks of cancer
and genetic damage. Irradiated meat is also highly susceptible to
cross-contamination with food poisoning bacteria.
Nevertheless, the meat and irradiation industries, along with the FDA, are lobbying aggressively to sanitize the agency's weak labeling
requirements for irradiated meat and other food by eliminating the word
"irradiated" in favor of "electronic (or cold) pasteurization".
Furthermore, irradiation masks grossly unsanitary conditions in
slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. Irradiation is a major
disincentive to decades-long overdue basic sanitary practices essential for
the prevention of Salmonella, E.coli, and other pathogenic food
poisoning. While irradiation kills most bacteria in meat, pork and poultry,
it does nothing to prevent gross fecal and other contamination.
Then you have the Food and Drug Administration hinting that it might permit the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals, prompting public reactions that ranged from curiosity to disgust. On top of all of the other negatives, now we get to eat clones. The FDA was supposedly created to make sure that before something get's the OK, it has to go through years of testing, to make sure consumption is safe, and there are no side effects. None of these procedures has been adequately tested, least of all cloning. We are the guinea pigs.
Like the appallingly ethics-free manner in which factory farming is conducted, this issue is about money making over human and animal welfare. With the FDA's
complicity, the cattle industry will also prevent the labeling of cloned products. This outrage circumvents the consumer's fundamental right-to-know. Larisa Rudenko, FDA senior biotechnology adviser herself admits that cloned animals were more likely to suffer birth defects and health problems when very young. I for one would not be very comfortable with these facts if I ate animal products. It could take a very long time to discover the negative effects of using such animals as a diet staple. The safest way to go is with a virtually animal free, organic diet.
The disease-ridden, steroid-pumped, genetically modified, radioactive, and now cloned meat that we now are consuming is made by the dozen or so mega-meat producers in this country who monopolize meat production to their own benefit, and care nothing about the potential risks in consuming meat or dairy from such an unnatural product.
If you do eat beef, it would be wise to eat only hormone free, antibiotic free, vaccine free beef from cows that eat only grass that has no added fertilizers, no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.