Another Reason to Avoid Meat: Zilmax Feed Additive
Eating meat occasionally is becoming more of a way of life for myself and others. Besides the expense, there is the usual concern about what is IN the meat you are devouring with delight. It is sort of like eating certain types of fish, what are they being fed on fish farms?
Zilmax, was originally for humans to alleviate asthma, but it also is mixed into cattle feed during the final weeks of their life before butchering to promote weight gain by creating more lean muscle growth instead of fat. The drug is not a growth hormone but can add up to 35 lbs. to a cow. This is much better than another drug, Optaflex, that adds only 20 lbs.
Zlimax was approved in 2006 and is mixed in with feed and fed to 70% of US cattle, some 25 million cows have been fed this since approval.
But, the cows waiting for their end are acting bizarre. They walk stiffly or have trouble moving at all. Others just sit down in very weird positions for a cow that is more like a dog. Some cows seem to be tippy-toeing as they walk down a ramp to a truck. Normally, they run and able to jump out of a truck. The cattle affected by the feed additive easily stand out among thousands. Cows fed on the additive appear as muscle bound beasts. The average cow at time of slaughter weighs 1400 lbs, in 2010, it was 1300.
Merck, which makes the drug has decided to suspend sales until additional research is conducted and Tyson indicated that it would suspend sales of any meat fed with the drug. However, a permanent ban would force meat producers to use an additional 91 million bushels of corn a year. That is how important these weight gaining drugs are. It would also require another 10 million more head of cattle per year to produce the same amount of meat.
Cows that are not deemed healthy when going to the slaughterhouse are removed. The problem is, these odd behaving cows have not been removed. If there is some chemical issue with the drug that impacts a cow, it may also impact humans after they have enjoyed their steak or hamburger.