Beef Additive Alert™ is a national consumer group made up veteran cattle ranchers committed to preserving USA Beef quality, consistency and integrity. We want an industry that does not depend on performance-enhancing drugs to boost profits at the expense of quality.
Let’s Preserve USA Beef
“We think FDA-approved beta agonists do not belong in the beef industry. In addition to animal welfare, we are also concerned about decreased quality and tenderness. We are in the beef business, not the chemical business,” said Beef Additive Alert Co-founder
Beef Additive Alert™ would prefer a beta agonist-free beef industry. For consumers. For animal well-being. For our economy. The USA boasts having the world’s premiere beef. Let’s keep it that way.
Two Drugs Concern Us
Zilmax (Zilpaterol Hydrochloride) and Optaflexx (Ractopamine) are controversial FDA-approved animal feed drugs known as beta agonists. These chemicals are mixed into feed to increase cattle muscle mass and weight.
Animal Welfare Concern
Renowned USA Ag Scientist Professor Temple Grandin has observed heat stress, lameness, hoof problems and aggressiveness in feedlot cattle fed beta agonists. “In hot weather, I have seen open mouth panting and a few animals were non-ambulatory (not able to walk) after fed beta agonists.”
Feed Drug/USA Beef Production
In Aug/Sept. 2013, Merck Animal Health itself suspended Zilmax cattle feed drug sales in the U.S. & Canada after a videotape surfaced showing Zilmax-fed animals in distress, with hoof problems and lameness that required cattle to be destroyed: Reuters
In 2014, Merck Animal Health has been taking steps to re-introduce to market the potent FDA-approved profit-enhancing, weight-gain feed drug Zilmax (Zilpaterol).
The steps include press release, mass internet-behavior ads directing to a “Responsible Beef” website, a lower dose re-labeling alternative and feeder certification. Wall Street Journal reports Merck’s plan to launch a 250,000 cattle in-field study last summer failed to materialize due to beef processor uneasiness. Read News Release – Beef Additive Alert Blasts Drug Maker Plan to Resume Zilmax Sales – Dec. 1, 2014.
US Beef Processors
Why did they halt buying Zilmax-fed cattle? In September 2013, the nation’s leading meat packers halted buying Zilmax-fed cattle, led by industry leader Tyson due animal welfare concerns. In a statement, Merck emphasized the product’s safety when used as directed. The cattle growth enhancer was introduced to the market in 2007.
Uneasy Industry Stalls Study
Merck scheduled a large-scale field evaluation of Zilmax in summer 2014, but the Wall Street Journal reports the in-field research is stalled due to beef processor reluctance to market the beef that the research would produce. Consumers view animal well-being a top concern.
Death Toll Higher Than Thought?
On March 11, 2014, Reuters publicized a Texas Tech and Kansas State University study that found “U.S. Cattle Deaths Linked to Zilmax Far Exceed Company Reports.”
Feed Additives Banned
Beta agonist drugs are so controversial, the 27-member European Union, China, Taiwan, Russia & 160 other countries ban or restrict them citing animal & human health safety. Reuters reports South Korea found beta agonist traces in U.S. Beef imports.
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