Friday, February 22, 2008

The Ethicurean and rBGH

I love The Ethicurean. It's not a vegetarian blog, but it's one of my favourite blogs out there now dealing with the ethics of consumption, both in terms of the actual information that's presented, as well as how it's presented . There are different contributors and they discuss topics such as organic farming, food labelling, animal welfare, changes in legislation, the biotech industry, etc. It's definitely worth bookmarking if any of these areas are of concern to you.

Someone posted an open letter to Monsanto there yesterday, listing off the small roadblocks they've been hitting during the lobbying they've been doing in the US to prevent dairy farmers or producers from labelling their milk rBGH-free (rBGH or recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is manufactured by Monsanto and marketed under the name POSILAC). I was grinning from ear to ear reading it. Monsanto's take on it is that having some dairy products labelled rBGH-free would invariably lead consumers to believe that there's something wrong with it, which would in turn lead to consumers avoiding dairy products coming from cows who've been injected with it.

The Organic Consumers' Association website has
a section dealing with the rBGH issue, featuring everything from news stories about it to lists of rBGH-free producers and companies. They also spell out all of the reasons its usage ranges from problematic to outright dangerous, both to cows, as well as to the humans who consume the dairy products coming from cows injected with it.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Monsanto... I first heard about them in The Corporation documentary. There was a clip of pus-filled cow udders cause by their bovine growth hormone, and the attempted cover-up that ensued. Tweaking nature for profit leads to infection, in more ways than one.

M said...

If only it was just tweaking going on. There's a reason they call 'em Frankenfoods.

The situation with the cows is horrendous. I'm glad that rBGH's use is banned in Canada and am relieved that some headway is being made with labeling in the US.

At the very least, I have to wonder what on earth could be attractive to people about consuming dairy products that come from cows with pus-filled udders (and the antibiotics pumped into the animals to treat these infections). More seriously, I have concerns about how these cows are being treated like machines, and pushed to the edge of what their bodies can tolerate.