Hormone Hearsay

When it comes to the use of hormones in beef cattle, sometimes there are more questions than answers. Reynold Bergen, PhD, with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), breaks down why hormones are used and how they work in a recent BCRC webinar.



He tackles the question that is at the top of everyone’s mind – is the use of hormone implants safe?  (Spoiler alert — yes!).

Although there has been sound scientific research to back up the decades-old practice of using hormonal growth implants, one can find many headlines to falsely suggest otherwise. It’s important to take a critical look at the source of such information. Is it credible? Do the studies reflect the science, real world conditions or practices? Who are the authors of the article and who performed the study? Continue reading

Performance Improving Product Approvals

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.



Last month’s column summarized a North Dakota State University research project where young female pigs were fed burgers made from tofu or beef from naturally-raised or implanted cattle to see whether they reached puberty sooner. They didn’t. That is no surprise, because researchers, pharmaceutical companies and government regulators invest a lot of time, effort and expense in assessing the risks that any new animal health product may pose to human health before it is approved for use. Dr. Sang-Hee Jeong described the risk assessment process in a 2010 article “Risk Assessment of Growth Hormones and Antimicrobial Residues in Meat” (Toxicol. Res. 26:301-313).

The first step is to determine efficacy (effectiveness). In other words, a new growth promotant must be able to improve growth rate, efficiency or carcass composition before it will be approved for that purpose. But these products Continue reading

Hormone use in beef cattle: facts, fears, fantasies: Webinar December 16

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: http://www.beefresearch.ca/resources/webinars.cfm

A quick Google search of “hormones in beef cattle” brings up numerous articles with many different fears, fantasies and opinions.

Join this free webinar to hear some of the facts on hormone use, and how we as beef producers can use this information to dispel myths.

When


beef-consumer-reports
Wednesday December 16th at 7pm MST

  • 6:00pm in BC
  • 7:00pm in AB
  • 8:00pm in SK and MB
  • 9:00pm in ON and QC
  • 10:00pm in NS, NB and PEI 

Continue reading

These Little Piggies Ate a Quarter Pounder a Day

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.

Does eating beef from implanted cattle cause young girls to reach puberty sooner?


CattlemensNOV2015
Hormonal growth promotants have been used in beef cattle for a long time. The newest one (trenbolone acetate) has been around for nearly 35 years, while implants containing estradiol have been around for 60 years. Growth promotants improve growth rates and feed efficiency, but also reduce environmental impacts. A 2012 paper by Capper and Hayes (J. Anim. Sci. 90:3527-3537) estimated that producing the same amount of beef without growth promotants would require 12% more cattle, 11% more feed, 10% more land, 7% more fertilizer, 8% more fuel, produce 10% more manure and greenhouse gas, and increase retail prices by 8%.

Consumer concerns around the safety of the beef from implanted cattle are more recent. Plants also contain estrogen-like hormones (phytoestrogens), so a counter-argument is that ‘there are more hormones in the bun than in the burger’. Continue reading