U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co said on Friday it is suspending sales of its Zilmax animal feed additive in the U.S. and Canada following concerns about animals showing signs of distress after use of the product, which is given to cattle to increase their weight before slaughter.
The Wall Street Journal reports meatpacking plants have seen an increase in unusual signs of distress.
A growing number of cattle arriving for slaughter at U.S. meatpacking plants have recently shown unusual signs of distress. Some walked stiffly, while others had trouble moving or simply lay down, their tongues hanging from their mouths. A few even sat down in strange positions, looking more like dogs than cows.
“I’ve seen cattle walking down a truck ramp tippy-toed,” said Temple Grandin, a doctor of animal science and consultant to the livestock industry. “Normally, they just run down the truck ramp and jump out. We do not want to see bad become normal.”