Merck is one of the largest drug companies in the United States. It makes medication for both humans and animals. This pharmaceutical giant is trying to revive a drug used for weight gain in animals. The drug was voluntarily taken off the market in 2013 because it made it difficult for the animal to walk. Cattle were in severe pain due to the side effects of this medication. Some of the animals couldn’t even support their weight and were found helpless on the ground.
The chemical is called Zilmax (zilpaterol), initially researched to treat lung disorders in humans. Industrial farms were mixing the drug into feed weeks before slaughter to increase muscle weight of the animal. More muscle weight would yield more meat for sale and therefore higher profits for the corporate cattle ranches. This medication increases the animal’s weight by up to 33 pounds.
Zilmax was approved by the FDA in 2006. Currently, this Federal Agency still considers beef that would come from Zilmax-fed cattle as being “safe.” I would trust this agency like I would a “reformed” pedophile running a school for adolescent boys. The FDA has relinquished giving unbiased decisions many decades ago. Renovating Your Mind has spoken time and again how this overwhelmed and underpaid organization has made some very bad choices turning trusting consumers into victims.
Merck is currently attempting to initiate a study with 250,000 cattle utilizing feed dosed with Zilmax. This would result in 200 million pounds of beef being available on the open market. Who will purchase this meat? Will it go to supermarkets, end up on the menu in fast food restaurants or be utilized to make cheap processed frozen convenience foods?
The drug company is looking for a happy medium with cattle dosing of this medication. It will discover a strength that lowers the risk of animal disability while still increasing muscle mass. So it will then be able to taint this animal’s body with no visible side effects. It all about perspective. If the cattle are no longer having problems walking than it’s meat must be safe to consume. Right?
Why would the FDA allow this to happen? Because they say that the additive is safe for cattle that will be ultimately consumed by humans.
China, the European Union and Russia have banned the use of Zilmax.
We seem to keep finding ways to purposely contaminate our foods in the name of corporate profits. This is one of the reasons why meat has become a minor part of my daily diet. My goal is to focus my choices on vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, safe seafood and organic eggs. Meat tends to participate in my nutritional focus as a condiment rather than a main course.
Think about making a change. Even if you start off with one meat-free day every week.
Photo credit: jules:stonesoup / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)