Pharmaceutical Cruelty In Animal Farms: Consumer Beware
Dr. Michael W. Fox
The documentation given in this article should put all on notice, including
pet owners whose pets may be eating pet foods containing pork byproducts (often listed as meat byproducts or meat meal). A
drug called Paylean is now being used widely by the pig industry. The beta-agonists ractopamine hydrochloride (sold as Optaflexx
by Elanco) and zilpaterol hydrochloride (sold as Zilmax by Intervet, a subsidiary of Merck & Co.) are FDA approved drugs
used to promote weight gain and growth of lean muscle in beef cattle. Topmax is Elanco’s product sold to some turkey
Several studies of ractopamine residues in farm animals have been published, (See Residue
Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drugs - Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Meeting 2010 – Evaluation
of Data on Ractopamine Residues in Pig Tissues. FAO JECFA Monographs 9). In one study cited in this report pig muscle, liver,
kidney, heart, lung, stomach, large intestine and small intestine were collected and analyzed. The results demonstrated that
the ractopamine residue concentrations in liver, kidney, lung, and small intestine were greater than in the other tissues.
Residue concentrations in the lung were greater than those in the liver and kidney, and were detected up to nine days following
removal of medicated feed. Residues in muscle were below 10 g/kg at 24 h, but were detectable for five days following removal
of medicated feed. Residues in the liver were between 63 and 106 g/kg at 12h, and one was greater than 40 g/kg at 24 h following
removal of medicated feed, and were detectable for up to five days. Residues in the kidney were highly variable, from 178
and 374 g/kg at 12h, and one remained greater than 90 g/kg at 24 h following the withdrawal time, and could be detected up
to seven days following the withdrawal time.
It is logical to conclude that some manufactured dog and cat foods
must contain ractopamine, the long-term consequences, such as contributing to cardiac myopathy and diseases of the thyroid
and adrenal glands in particular, which have yet to be determined.
The Paylean label clearly states that Paylean is not for human use. It warns that individuals with cardiovascular
disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure to Paylean. Individuals mixing and handling Paylean are advised
to use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eyewear, and NIOSH approved dust masks, as well as to wash themselves
thoroughly immediately following handling.
Pigs are curious, intelligent, playful, and sociable creatures, tending
to be more cautious than placid like cows, but they can be very aggressive when feeling threatened. Dosing them with Paylean,
a beta-adrenoreceptor agonist, is the cruelest thing to do to the pig’s psyche---or to any creature’s state of
mind and sense of well-being. This drug destabilizes the pig’s physiological and psychological homeostasis and subjective
sense of well-being, evident in their heightened, chronic states of irritability, agitation
, aggression, tachycardia,
flightiness, excessive oral-facial movements and elevated blood
catecholamines. This new drug, given to make
them lean-muscled when fed on a sickening diet of corn and soy (publicly subsidized no less), makes their lives in crowded
pens hideously stressful by super-stimulating their adrenal-systems. This means more fear and fighting until the stressed
survivors are heavy enough to go out of the factory shed to slaughter. Their increased muscle mass makes normal movements
difficult, and creates difficulties loading them for transport to slaughter, during which time they bruise easily, suffer
great stress and are more prone to heat stress.
In response to an increase in non-ambulatory pigs in slaughter
plants subsequent to the approval of ractopamine hydrochloride (PayleanŽa ) the FDA approved the following label change in
June 2002: “Caution: Pigs fed Paylean are at an increased risk for exhibiting the downer pig syndrome (also referred
to as "slows," "subs," or "suspects"). Pig handling methods to reduce the incidence of downer pigs should be thoroughly evaluated
prior to initiating use of Paylean.”
This is pharmacological cruelty of the first order; chemical
torture, simply for profit, certainly not for public health (making pigs more lean). Such highly-wound up, physiologically
challenged and psychologically disturbed creatures will have impaired immune function, increasing their susceptibility to
diseases. Antibiotics are used by the thousands of pounds to keep the pigs alive and eating, making industrial pig factories
the new epicenters for zoonotic diseases---bacterial and viral diseases transmitted to people.
Several reports have shown
that beef cattle treated with this drug are more susceptible to heat and related transport stress, can have difficulty walking,
even losing their hooves, and have higher mortality rates compared to non-treated cattle. Turkeys given this drug are also
more susceptible to heat stress.
Since animal studies show that only about 80 percent of this drug is
excreted in the pigs’ feces and urine, that means twenty percent of the drug ractopamine hydrochloride, marketed as
Paylean, remains in the pigs’ body, including parts people consume. It is my considered opinion that residues
of this ‘speed’-like drug in pork products raise the question of significant health risks to a vulnerable segment
of the population, especially those on adrenal, autonomic, neuro-endocrine and immune-system affecting prescription drugs.
Animal studies that have been conducted on the effects of this drug on rats, dogs, and monkeys, as well as pigs, give no such
guarantee, to my knowledge, of unconditional consumer safety.
According to a Wikipedia entry,( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ractopamine
# ) as of 2013, ractopamine use in food animals has been banned in over 160 countries. It has not been allowed in
the 28 member countries of the European Union, based on the 2009 European Food Safety Authority's opinion on its safety
evaluation, which concluded that available data were insufficient to derive a maximum residue limit as a 'safe residue level
for human consumption'. The uncertainty was particularly great for people who might be thought to be more susceptible than
most to an increase in β adrenergic stimulation from consuming the additive, such as people with cardiovascular
disease or children, and that simply increasing the "uncertainty factor" built into the calculation as a safety factor
would rapidly become arbitrary.
Russia and China banned ractopamine in pork, and Russia also in beef, deeming
it unfit for human consumption. Taiwan banned ractopamine along with other beta-adrenergic agonists in October 2006, but
in 2012, its legislature passed amendments to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, authorising government agencies to set safety
standards for ractopamine. The Department of Health ultimately established an MRL of 10 ppb for ractopamine
in beef on 31 July 2012.
The International Codex Alimentarius Commission in conjunction with The Joint
FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) published an information sheet in April 2012 summarizing their evaluation
on ractopamine. Later that summer, Codex voted to adopt a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of 10 ppb for ractopamine in pork and
Restlessness, apprehension, and anxiety were reported effects after the use of various beta-agonists,
particularly after oral or parenteral treatment in humans. Similar psychotropic effects are evident in animals’ changed
behaviors indicating that this is an inhumane practice regardless of commercial benefits and is therefore ethically unacceptable.