Growth Hormones in Our Food They Are Causing Society to Become Weight and Sick Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2875 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Agriculture

Growth Hormones in our food. They are causing society to become weight and sick

Growth hormones is our food

The population of the modern day society is growing sicker with every year, and what is more dramatic is that the age at which the population develops heart and blood pressure related diseases continues to decrease and affect the youngest of the generations. The reasons for this are complex, to include changes in cooking and eating habits, or a more sedentary life style. According to some scientists however, a contributing factor is also represented by the presence of growth hormones in the food we consume.

There are generically six types of growth hormones and they are mostly used in the raising of cattle. They speed up the process of cow growth and they also increase the production of milk by cow. Since the 1950s through today for instance, this production of milk by cow has more than tripled (Food Service Warehouse).

Out of the six hormones used more commonly, three of them have a natural origin, whereas the other three are artificially developed. In order to increase the production of milk by cow, farmers inject their animals with the recombinant bovine growth hormone, or the recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBGH or rBS). The intense usage of this hormone leads to infections in the udder of the cows, which are treated with antibiotics.

The dairy and beef coming from animals injected with growth hormones (about two thirds of all American cattle) contain residues of both antibiotics as well as growth hormones. The opinions regarding these residues vary.

On the one hand, they are presented as having a negative impact upon the health of the consumers, whereas on the other hand, it is argued that they do not pose any threat for the population. The arguments against the usage of growth hormones link them to increased chances of cancer developing in the consumers, but also other problems, such as an accelerated development of the children.

The parties involved in the dispute include scientists, policy makers and the cattle farms. The farms tend to agree on the non-harmful impacts of growth hormones, but the scientists and the policy makers are less homogenous and reveal different perceptions. At a federal level, the governments in Canada and the United States allow growth hormones to be used, whereas the governments in the member states of the European Union prohibit these hormones from being used on their territory. They also forbid the sale of products coming from hormone injected animals, and such a measure has lead to trade tensions between the two regions. The dispute has yet to be settled by the WTO.

Since the arguments regarding the usage of growth hormones are so different and even conflicting, taking one strict side over the other would be dangerous and unwise. In this order of ideas then, it is recommended for more research to be conducted in order to identify the real implications of using growth hormones. The main requirement for this research is that it be objective and unbiased.

Growth hormones is our food

Issue paper

1. Abstract

The usage of growth hormones in the raising of cattle gives birth to intense controversy. The United States and Canada support these hormones, whereas the European Union bans them. This project promotes the need for further, more detailed and objective research.

2. Problem statement

The United States of America allows its cattle farms to inject their animals with growth hormones, but the usage of these hormones jeopardizes the health of both animals as well as humans. The animals develop an increased risk of infections, which are then treated with antibiotics. The residues from the antibiotics and the growth hormones end up in the meat and dairy products and they pose risks for the well-being of consumers. As numerous forms of cancer are associated with the hormones, the current project urges more objective research to be conducted.

3. Introduction

The modern day society is continually changing. It is ever more dynamic than it has ever been and it undergoes constant processes of transformation. The changes which impact the society are virtually endless, including a changing role of the workplace, changing legislations, changing environmental conditions or the unprecedented evolution of technology.

In this dynamic setting, the lifestyle and eating habits of the population have also changed. The people tend to eat out more and cook less inside the house. This is due to the fact that the struggle for gender equality has materialized in women working more outside the home and having less time to perform the household chores, including cooking. Then, eating out -- more often than not -- refers to the consumption of fast food products. These have a rich flavor and a low cost and they are as such accessible to a large portion of the population. At the same time, people become more sedentary.

Throughout the past recent years, the heath status of the global population has decreased dramatically, as more and more people become consumed by blood pressure and heart diseases. And the age at which these diseases occur tends to decrease; diabetes is for instance more and more common in children.

The changes in the life style of the population are commonly blamed for the decaying health of the people. But aside from these, there are also some elements which add to the health risks. One particular element is represented by the usage of growth hormones in the production of food items.

4. Background

In the 1950s decade, a cow produced an estimated 5,300 pounds of milk per year; today, the typical cow produces over 18,000 pounds of milk within a year. Most of this growth is attributed to the fact that the cows are injected with growth hormones. These hormones allow the cows to not only produce more milk, but also to grow at a faster rate. This materializes in more beef being produced in a shorter amount of time, as well as more milk -- and the subsequent dairy products -- being produced in larger quantities, in a restricted time frame.

The growth hormones are mostly discussed in terms of their increased presence within the raising of cattle, but they can also be recurrent in the raising of chicken or pork, with the same effects. Still, in terms of chicken and pork, there are no officially approved growth hormones being used, meaning as such that -- at least theoretically -- the presence of hormones would be most common in the case of cattle (Food Service Warehouse).

The use of growth hormones in the raising of cattle is as such the most commonly disputed and the center of this dispute is represented by the residues left by the hormones in the meet and dairy products. Both of the sides agree that there are indeed residual matters after the use of growth hormones which remain in both the beef, as well as the dairy products. Still, the differences in opinion rely in that one party argues that these residual matters negatively impact the health of the population, whereas the other party argues that these residual matters are derived from hormones which already appear naturally in the structures of humans and animals, and they as such, do not cause any ill effect (Food Service Warehouse). In such a setting, the dispute over the actual impact and future course of action regarding the growth hormones are still undergoing.

There are generically six types of growth hormones used in the raising of cattle. These include the following: Oestradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Zeranol, Trenbolone and Melegestrol. Out of these, the first three hormones are naturally occurring and then reproduced, whereas the latter three growth hormones are synthetic. The hormones are used differently, based on the scopes followed by the producer. In order to increase the production of milk, the companies inject the cows with rBGH, or the recombinant bovine growth hormone, which is an artificial growth hormone, obtained through genetic engineering and which has raised controversy since its initial creation (Sustinable Table). The usage of all of these raises serious questions upon the impacts they can generate upon the health of the people.

5. The primary actors and their positions

The opinions of the population sectors vary, from those who do not have a clear opinion, to those who are supporting the use of growth hormones and those who vehemently oppose the hormones. Nonetheless, the opinions of the general population tend to be less important in this dispute, which is handled by other parties. Three important parties in the argument include the beef and dairy producers, the scientists and the policy makers.

These parties have different opinions and do not even represent homogenous groups. An exception is however made by the beef and dairy producers, who tend to all agree in favor of the growth hormones. This unified perception is supported by the fact that the growth hormones significantly increase the production of these farms, and exponentially increase their revenues and profitability.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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