Do Factory Farmers Even Have A Moral Compass?

Posted by Carter Dillard, ALDF's Director of Litigation on January 2, 2013

ractopamine cows
(Photo by Andreas Beer)

The Center for Food Safety and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a petition with the FDA calling for a reduction in the allowable levels of ractopamine, the controversial animal feed additive widely used in industrial factory farms. Human health risks aside (even Russia has banned the import of meat containing the drug), anyone who cares about animals needs to understand what ractopamine is, why factory farmers use it, and how little the FDA does to protect animals and the general public.

Ractopamine hydrochloride enhances animal growth by inhibiting fat growth, stimulating lipolysis, increasing protein synthesis, and reducing protein breakdown in muscle. The generic names for this drug are "Paylean" for swine, and "Optaflexx" and "Heifermax" for cattle. Studies conclude that ractopamine use allows producers to increase their profits by as much as $2 per head. Ractopamine is linked to significant health problems and behavioral changes in animals, such as cardiovascular stress, muscular skeletal tremors, "downer" animals, increased aggression, and hyperactivity. The FDA approves of its use.

What does this mean? In order to increase profits by making animals "meatier," factory farmers feed animals a drug that makes them sick. That’s right–these "farmers" intentionally drug animals and make them sick, in order to make more money. This is not conjecture, or a baseless accusation. Read more about the thirty-seven page petition we just filed.

The next time you hear factory farmers say they do right by animals, think instead about this and what it means. This is an industry that has no shame.

One thought on “Do Factory Farmers Even Have A Moral Compass?

  1. Patricia Folman says:

    The simple answer to that question is a resounding “NO”

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