COWS ON DRUGS
Here is a Letter to the Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Chances are slim that they'll publish it...so here you go:
The editorial by former FDA chief Donald Kennedy (“Cows on Drugs,” PD) that you published was selectively incomplete. Kennedy discussed the widespread use of what he termed “the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics” in livestock and agriculture — and how this leads to antibiotic resistance among humans who consume meat, dairy, and other foods.
I agree with those sentiments, but Kennedy neglects to mention the other commonly accepted practice of injecting cows with another drug: a synthetic hormone known as rBGH, a recombinant bovine growth hormone. This hormone is a clear and present danger to children across the country and continues to be ignored by Kennedy and officials at FDA.
Why? Well, it's really quite simple. FDAs Michael R. Taylor, the former second-in-command at the agency, used to work as part of the legal team for Monsanto, the creator of the rBGH product called Posilac. After leaving FDA, Taylor went to the Department of Agriculture, where he quickly — and quietly helped get rBGH approved for consumer use.
It's been in the milk supply ever since.
Thus, the vast majority of the milk that parents encourage their children to drink is laced with this chemical growth hormone. . .yet not a word in Kennedy's missive addressed this very serious public health problem. According to research scientists Dr. William von Meyer, "A human drug requires two years of carcinogenic testing and extensive birth defect testing. rBGH was tested for 90 days on 30 rats at any dose before it was approved," yet there is more concern about regulating antioxidants at the FDA than this class of recombinant drugs originated by one of the world's greatest villains.
If you want to know why the breasts of so many young girls seem to be developing at younger ages, wouldn't a growth hormone in milk be a likely suspect? And should we not be concerned about the fact that cows injected with rBGH often live much shorter lives — and have a history of serious hoof and other problems? Dr. Daniel Epstein from the Univ. of Illinois certainly believes so. After studying these synthetic growth hormones for decades, Epstein said, “There are highly suggestive if not persuasive lines of evidence showing that consumption of this milk poses risks of breast and colon cancer."
Monsanto has now sold their Posilac unit. How appropriate. They already made billions off of consumers nationwide—and then passed the risk onto consumers. But before they left the rBGH market, they sued small dairy farms who wanted to label their milk as “rBGH Free.” Here in Ohio, agribusiness has been fighting to remove the same labels, and to disallow “organic” labels on milk and dairy. Consumer advocates wonder why their freedom to know which chemicals are present in the milk supply is being challenged.
And whither Michael R. Taylor, the former FDA bigwig? Ah, — the Obama administration, in their infinite wisdom, hired him as a “consultant.” If one wants petrochemicals to rule the world, Mr. Taylor is in the perfect position to "help."
The reality is, until we stop the revolving door between business and government, we will not be able to stop the abuses of insiders who craft public policy based on corporate interests. The media and the general public should drive Michael R. Taylor out of his advisory role at FDA and back to big business. From there, as I've said before, at least Taylor will know for whom he is fighting... because it certainly is not the US consumer.
Kevin P. Miller is an international award-winning writer/director from Cleveland. His latest documentary is called Generation RX.