Temple Grandin on Additives in Cattle Feed

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Temple Grandin talks about how cattle feed additives, like popular weight-gaining supplements, are changing cattle behavior, health, and the meat we eat.

American beef cattle have been exhibiting some strange behavior lately. Some scientists are blaming a type of feed additive called beta-agonists. These drugs, normally used to treat asthma in humans, are now popularly used to promote weight-gain in cattle, especially since the price of grain in the US began to rise.

One of those concerned scientists is Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and leading livestock industry consultant. “I’ve been in cattle in 40 years and these problems never appeared before beta-agonists were introduced,” she says.

Grandin explained that while not all cattle seems to be affected by the drug, the ones that are walk with their heads down. Other symptoms include a stiff gait, foot soreness and reluctance to walk. "These animals are in pain and that has to stop," she says. The problem is bad enough that she believes it renders her work to make slaughter plants more humane moot. One of the more drastic incidents that some attribute to beta-agonists recently occurred at a Tyson Foods plant, when 21 head of cattle had their hooves fall off.

While the drugs were approved for use in cattle by the FDA and pose no safety risk to humans, Grandin does say it makes the meat tougher.


Temple Grandin

Comments [5]

PBnJ from Brooklyn

Thank you Dr Grandin for being so persistant on the humane care and treatment of our meat producing cattle. I believe she will eventually educate (or wear down) the producers and consumers to make sure these animals are not suffering before arriving at your table.

Aug. 28 2013 11:47 AM
Dave K from Manhattan

Grandin may have considerable influence but it is American consumers who could put an end to the industry.
The real problem is that the majority of Americans choose their actions based on a consciousness deliberately repressed to a level which one could argue is sub- bovine.
Seek out Halal butchers. A word to the wise...

Aug. 23 2013 11:24 AM
pinus from S.Plainfield

No, Alexander. Meat does taste differently- you just don't know it, because you've probably never tasted it.

Aug. 23 2013 09:57 AM
Alexander Smart from US

Here is the logic folks: Don't worry! Look now, Just because the hooves of these beef cattle "tend" to fall off. That doesn't mean much does it! Afterall, don't the steaks taste just as good?

Aug. 22 2013 06:04 PM
Tess from pa

I appreciate the contributions Grandin has brought to the slaughter industry to "reduce" animal torture during their own slaughter death, however, I have never understood why Grandin will not use her considerable influence to make the ULTIMATE contribution to reduce animal suffering during their slaughter-death experience, which is to call for an END to raising CONSCIOUS animals in tortured conditions just to slaughter-murder them. YES, the animals KNOW THEY ARE BEING TAKEN TO THEIR DEATHS. Yes, the animals have working minds and instincts that the animals KNOW they are being tortured and slaughtered. Humans insist upon fooling themselves--but the truth is ALL animals know they are being tortured and slaughtered-murdered. WHY WON'T GRANDIN TAKE THE ULTIMATE STEP IN CALLING FOR AN END TO THIS CRUEL TORTURE INDUSTRY?

Aug. 22 2013 01:57 PM

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