Drugged out

Our poor livestock

May 1, 2012

Tom Philpott (on Mother Jones) and Sam Fromartz (of Chews Wise and the Food and Environment Reporting Network) are clanging the alarm bells yet again about the prevalence of drugs in livestock.

Philpott laments the transition in agricultural research from public to private funding: “Public universities . . . have given up the pretense of serving the public interest and have instead have lapsed into research and (to an extent) marketing arms of large corporations.” The results, as Fromartz and his fellow reporters at FERN have documented, are not good.

The FERN collective has been tracking a controversial livestock drug called ractopamine. The drug, which is banned in Europe and China, makes pigs grow faster — but may also kill them quicker. FERN posted its many source documents online and reported on the FDA's official dismissal of those documents. So far, so bad: the drug is still approved for use in the U.S.

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