Is there proof that horomones in meat hurt humans?

I am having a debate with a co-worker of mine… I am thinking of becoming a vegetarian… mainly for the health reasons, a lot for the animal rights reasons, and a little for the political reasons… any way, in this debate he has shot me down on all fronts. First of all he claims that there is no proof that the horomones injected in cows or chickens do any harm to humans (but I think we are mainly talking about beef and dairy products). Is this true?
He also doesn’t think that the Corporate meat industry does any more or less harm than a small meat business. Here we are mainly talking about the effects on the environment. I heard that the meat industry is one of the biggest enviromental polluters.
I am not as informed as I should be… what’s the truth?

If you want to be a vegetarian, go ahead. I gave up red meat about ten years ago, but occasionally I have a little now. If you become a strict vegetarian, you’ll need to be careful that you get all the minerals and vitamins you need.

But if you’re looking for health reasons or political reasons, I think you’ll come up lacking. I follow this kind of thing fairly closely, and I haven’t seen any concern over hormones in beef - there have been some about it in milk, but these lack substance.

I’ve found the American Council on Science and Health to be a level-headed source of information. You can read what they say about this at . Here’s an excerpt:

“The use of hormones (such as estrogens) to promote growth in cattle is under strict government control. The amount of hormones in meat from treated animals is only slightly higher than that naturally present in meat from untreated animals. Some other foods, such as milk, naturally contain far larger quantities of hormones. These foods, like beef, can be consumed safely.”

Thanks for your input…
I do think I am going to become vegetarian… but when one grows up in VERY meat (meat, and more meat) and potato household ("would you like beef with your cheerios, honey?), its a hard adjustment.
I more so want to find this information to prove my co-worker wrong. Its now a matter of principle.

Yes, I believe that hormones in meat affect humans who eat meat.
I became a vegetarian years ago(I’m not now), and as soon as I did, my face broke out horrible.
I guessed it was from the sudden lack of those hormones in the cow I’d been eating.
It quickly cleared up, but I knew something was up, or it wouldn’t have happened just as I had stopped eating meat.

Re: the use of hormones in beef:

The European Union has in the past prohibited the use of several hormones in meat production (the prohibition covered the use of importing meat from countries that use hormones.) I’m not sure if the dispute between the EU and USA regarding this issue has been resolved or not.

Here’s a study commissioned by the EU:
Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health: Assessment of potential risks to human health from hormone residues in bovine meat and meat products (30 april 1999)

The study looked at the effects of ingesting beef from cattle that had been raised with administration of the six hormones oestradiol - 17 beta, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate.

The conclusion, from what I read in this report: health risk possible but not conclusively determined.

From the section “Major Conclusions”:

“The conclusion, from what I read in this report: health risk possible but not conclusively determined.”

Thanks for the information… but I think this is the point that my co-worker is making-- he knows about all the claims, but he says that they can’t be proven.
What about the environmental aspect? Anyone got the dope on that?

Xela: we have debated the environmental damge from livestock repeatedly. (And there is one going on now in PIT, re PETA). It is true overgrazing damages the environment, but smart use is actually a plus. Farming, with the attendant chemical fertilizers & insecticides, does as much damage, if not more, than grazing. Cotton is a particular environmental nitemare.

Same with hormones in meat, and residue on veggies. Lots of soft, unfounded info that both are harmful. But with that much smoke…

Of course, one can always eat Organic, and that is better for the environment, also. But then, note, there is also Organic meat/dairy, without the hormones.

So, there are no “health” or “political” reasons not to eat meat*, except those that apply as well to not eating veggies.

*Of course, TOO MUCH meat is bad for you, fats & all that.

Danielinthewolvesden wrote:

I don’t know if there is any proof that this statement is true. Organic farming doesn’t use artificial fertilizers and/or pesticides, which is probably good for the environment, but it does require more land and water to produce the same amount of food as non-organic farming, and this is bad for the environment.

I’m not saying that Daniel’s statement is not true, but I will need to see something that supports it before I believe it.

…given to cattle in order to speed up their growth? Is this producing antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
Another question: if you go to the third world (countries like India) you will see that local doctors prescribe common antibiotics (like pennicillin) like candy! Most antibiotics are available in drugstores without a doctors prescription. So I am afraid we are losing some of our most valuble drugs, due to this misuse of antibiotics.

Of course organic farming is better for the environment. The less pesticides that are used the better the water quality, the FDA claims 38 states primary water supplies are contaminated with pesticides, some of those known carcinogens. Nutrients like Nitrates also pollute water supplies.

Biodiversity, commercial style mono-cropping depletes natural minerals and nutrients that traditional poly-cropping doesn’t.
Organic style composting tends to keep soil from eroding as compared to chemical-style farming.

HorseloverFat wrote:

Do you have a cite for any of that? Are the pesticide contaminated water supplies contaminated with pesticides that are currently in use or pesticides from twenty years ago? Are nitrates exclusively found in man made fertilizers or are they also found in manure? Are the nutrients depleted from mono-cropped fields able to be replenished with fertilizer? How does composting prevent soil erosion?

I’m not saying that anything you posted is incorrect, I would just like a little something to back it up.

You are refering to organic farming as if they use no fertilizer. That is not true. They have to use something or all the nutrients will be used up. I assume they use manure. High in nitrogen too. They are all there.All the chemicals that are needed.If it rains too much they like their chemical counterparts are washed into creeks and streams.
If you only worked in a chemical fertilizer plant one season you would understand that no farmer wants to use one ounce more fertilizer than he needs to.First of all it costs him money.And then he usually owns the land. He more than anyone else wants to protect it. It is when corporate America ,including banking, steps in protecting the dollar that things go wrong.

I’m surprised that testosterone is included in that list. Testosterone is one of the reasons for steers. It affects the taste of the meat. Makes it strong tasting. One of the reasons some people don’t like venison.

Re-read the post and you’ll find the word composting.

lance: there may be some problems with organic, but out here in the West the big problems are pesticide & chemical fertilizer runoff, and heavy metal accumulation. The 1st 2 are a LOT worse on non-Organic. Check out the Sierra club site for more info, as well as others.

Actually, Organic produces about the same yield, but it IS more labor intensive. I am so big believer in Organic, and do not buy it at my store (farmers mkt, yes, as it is fresher), but it is an option.

Well one thing the hormones in the meat do is give girls bigger breasts nowadays. :slight_smile: According to people that i’ve talked to that atttended high school in the seventies, most the chicks were “flat.” I just came outta high school a few years ago and can confirm that many of today’s teenagers are somewhat busty. Now that’s a big change in say just 30 years. The main contributer, IMHO, is meat.

About twenty years ago cattle farmers started using steroids and other chemicals to ward off sickness, disease and increase the mean product. The apparent result is our up and coming generations get mucho steroids outta their meat meal. And this benefits me, because I like bigger boobies (*ahem, although size is definately not everthing, it’s ultimately the “woman” herself).

Also, pennicillin is commonly found in beef, which in turn gets in our stomachs too. This is a plausable part-reason that pennicillin nowadays generally doesn’t do diddly…our bodies are too used to the chemical.


You don’t live on a farm do you???

You cannot compost 500 acres. It is fine for gardeners.

Even those who sell at farm markets.They use miracle grow.

Organic -ORGAN—IC Guess what organ it last saw.

I hate to double post but

Hey horseloverfat

Manure is just compost that has done double duty

This has all been discussed a while back.
Minimum tillage farming methods incorporate the advantages of composting. Even on 500 acre farms.


No matter what you call it you still have to return the elements that were removed -corn,beans etc to the soil or you will deplete it. That is why fertilizer is needed.

Ok, I have to ask here, since I’m a vegetarian (matter of taste, also never was able to digest meat - agonzing cramps or indigestion).

I read an article recently on the excavation of Sue the T. Rex. One off-hand comment was that Sue, like many red meat eaters, suffered from gout.

Anyone here know what that was all about?

Also, while uncertain of the reasons for it, I understand vegetarians are generally healthier? Spectrum, a magazine I read from time to time had an article on vegetarianism in which they cite an English study on 6000 vegetarians and 5000 of their meat eating friends or family members. Adjustments made for smoking/BMI/social class.
[li]15-25% reduction in coronary heart disease risk for vegetarians[/li][li]among meat eaters divided into three groups based on amount consumed, a threefold increase in same between top and bottom groups[/li][li]when this study’s data was combined with one of 5 vegetarian groups (below) vegetarians had consistently lower BMI and higher rates of exercise[/li][li]again, when this data was combined, no reduction in mortality from cerebrovascular disease or various cancers was noted between vegetarians and non-vegetarians - this despite hormone claims[/li][/ul]

A seperate study of vegetarian populations noted that, compared to the average meat eater:
[li]17% reduction in mortality in occasional meat eater[/li][li]36% in those who ate fish instead of meat[/li][li]34% in lacto-ovo vegetarians[/li][li]30% in vegans[/li][/ul]

Hm. Looks like pure vegetarianism doesn’t win out. I’m in the lacto-ovo category so I feel better, but it looks like maybe I should try a little sushi once in a while…