Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
The European Union has a different opinion of growth hor-
mones, and any beef the United States exports to the European
Union must be hormone-free (“hormone-free” means the cow
was not given synthetic beef hormones, as all food contains
hormones). It is unclear why the European Union has taken
this stance, given that the scientific literature and the World
Trade Organization deem hormones to be safe. Some suggest
it is just an excuse the EU uses to protect its beef producers
against imports. However, the European Union does not allow
its domestic producers to use synthetic hormones, so it is not
surprising that this trade restriction was placed on the United
States. European consumers seem to display more skepticism
than Americans towards hormone use, and this ban probably
just reflects different public attitudes.
If indeed children are maturing earlier, there are much better
explanations for what may be contributing to it. Children who
weigh more tend to mature earlier, for instance, and childhood
obesity started rising around the same time growth hormones
were adopted by the cattle industry. This is well known in the
African country of Mauritania, where young girls are sent to
a “fat farm” to gain weight (as being skinny is associated with
poverty) so that they can better attract suitors, and so that they
mature earlier.
If possible, at 8 or 9 years old she will begin to be force-fed
until she prematurely matures into an adult woman.
—Aminetou Mint Ely, the Association of Woman
Heads of Households in Mauritania, interviewed
on “Winners & Losers,” Vice , HBO. In the
closed-captioning the word “prematurely” was
placed in square brackets.
There is one legitimate reason to buy hormone-free beef,
though. It has nothing to do with safety but everything to
do with the eating experience. Cattle given synthetic growth
hormones tend to produce tougher beef, so if you are willing to
Search WWH ::

Custom Search