Among the leaders in pressuring Merck has been Temple Grandin, a world-renowned expert on how cattle react to their environment. Grandin has redesigned slaughterhouses to make them more humane. Here Dan Charles, writing at npr.com, tells readers…
Two weeks ago, at a meeting held by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, he presented data showing that feedlot cattle consuming beta agonists died more often. At that same meeting, Grandin gave a talk about her observations of cattle that seemed reluctant to move. And an animal welfare expert from a big meat packer, JBS, showed a video of cattle that appeared lethargic, unable to walk properly.
Grandin says that video made people angry. “You’ve got a lot of people in the cattle industry who care about cattle, and they don’t like to see cattle that are lame,” she says.
As that conference was ending, another big meat packer, Tyson Foods, announced that it would stop buying cattle that had been fed one particular beta agonist: Zilmax. Zilmax, or zilpaterol, is considered the most powerful beta agonist.