Dangers of Growth Hormones and Other Food Alterations
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Humans have found many ways to increase their food supply through the use of several new technologies. Farmers and ranchers often give growth hormones to their livestock in order to produce larger animals than would occur naturally which in turn means that a greater amount of meat will come from those animals. There are even places working on cloned livestock and even growing meat in a laboratory. Hybridized plants and chemically or genetically altered plants are often grown on farms and in nurseries resulting unnatural growth or production in plants that are intended for food. Of course it is also important to realize that even the preservatives that are added to the food we eat makes its shelf life longer which in turn leads to less waste and therefor a greater abundance.
According to Richard Sanders of Grace Communications foundation’s Sustainable Table “the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health, the use of six natural and artificial growth hormones in beef production poses a potential risk to human health.iii These six hormones include three which are naturally occurring—Oestradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone—and three which are synthetic—Zeranol, Trenbolone, and Melengestrol.” The article goes on to explain that the committee found that these hormones could pose a significant risk to humans by disrupting their natural hormones which could cause problems with natural development and reproduction. Scientists are also concerned by the fact that the hormone residue in cow manure could pollute ground surface and groundwater which could damage the fragile aquatic eco systems because these hormones are known to have a strong effect on gender and reproduction in fish (Sanders, 2005).
There are certainly many concerns to be had over the food that we eat. It seems as though every day we are hearing about another food recall. It is not natural for cows and chicken to consume the bones and other parts of their dead counterparts, and yet, factory farms feed sometimes feed it back to them. Feed mills knowingly add bone meal and other animal byproducts to many of the feeds for goats, cattle and chickens. Ecoli and mad cow disease both have had outbreaks that were linked back to tainted batches of the bone and byproducts in animal feed. Many of us are aware that mercury and other preservatives that have been linked to cancer among other things and then on top of that there are the unnatural meats being created that are almost certain to have problems and the genetic or chemical alteration of plants and animals intended for consumption that have proven negative effects on man and the environment.
My family used to live on a small organic, self-sustainable farm, we are currently looking for property to have that again but even in the city are growing our own vegetables from heritage seeds because I just do not trust the ones at the store and figure every small amount I can do to raise my children on as natural food as possible, the better off they will be. Maybe it is time that we all start considering what we can do to save and improve our natural food sources. While not everyone can raise their own food, most areas have stores that specialize in organic grown crops and meats, for people in areas that don't it may be time to consider advocating for a co-op or even a farmers market day in your comunity. There is no reason, in this day and age, why we should be eating food that we know to be unsafe, enough is enough.
Sanders, R. (2005) Artificial Hormones, Grace Communications foundation, Sustainable Table