Doc’s Blog

"Pink Slime" Lawsuit Settled

     I see ABC and BPI have settled the ‘pink slime’ lawsuit.  The suit alleged that back in 2012 ABC made derogatory remarks about BPI’s product,  ‘lean, finely textured beef’ causing it to be nicknamed ‘pink slime'.  The resulting public backlash at the product eroded BPI sales enough to cause the closure of three plants and the layoff of 700 workers.  ’The terms of the settlement   were not revealed but I’m betting the lawyers on both sides made out like bandits.

     I wonder, though, if those folks who balked at eating anything containing ’pink slime’ have ever eaten a hot-dog or a bologna sausage sandwich?    As Mark Twain so aptly put it;  “Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.”  

     I’ve never watched the legislative process but I have seem bologna sausage being mede — and it is not pretty.

      Bologna is mostly made of pork  and contains a lot of lard, so its appearance is similar to pink slime only lighter in color.  Hot-dogs are about the same.  Years ago I saw the allowed ingredient list for both products — among other items it contained lips, gums, mammary tissue, soybean meal, and the Lord only knows what else. .  It’s all finely ground together, spices are added, and then it is extruded into the sausage casings.

 Given an informed choice, I think most folks would prefer the BPI’s 'lean, finely textured beef’ over the bologna or hot-dogs  

     I am more concerned about the coming influx of artificial meat looming on the horizon. I wonder what their labels will look like. They will probably contain GMO grains, MSG, glyphosate and who knows what else.

Stray Voltage

    Sam Milham, an 85 year old physician and an epidemiologist, has authored a book entitled "Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization.”  He claims many diseases of civilization (ranging from from cancer through many chronic diseased to early death) are related to electromagnetic interference (EMI) — dirty electricity.

    He is probably right.  Stray voltage, a common name for EMI exposure, is common in dairy cattle.  Over the years, I have seen many herds with EMI exposure.   Stray voltage can be easily measured with a standard volt meter by measuring the voltage from “cow contact” to ground.  Fluorescent light fixtures and electric fly-zappers were often the culprits.  Old or damaged wiring with poor grounding is frequently at fault.  Premises located between  a power substation and a heavy user of electrical power are subjected damaging electrical ground currents.

   Common symptoms include lower milk production, lower reproductive performance,  and foot and hoof problems.  Other symptoms indicative of a damaged immune system may be present. Animals are about 10 times more sensitive to EMI than humans. Animals are often hesitant to enter an area with high levels of exposure.  

   Correction of stray voltage almost always involves major revisions to the electrical system.  It can be expensive and sometimes not even possible. 

   EMI can obviously affect any species — animals as well as humans.  I have occasionally seen EMI problems in confinement swine facilities.  Given the chance, most animals will avoid areas with high levels of EMI.  Any animal - including horses - confined to an area of stray voltage will be affected.  



Given the pervasive presence of electricity in our environment  —from cell phones to overhead power lines — it is impossible to avoid the effects. 

    If you, or any of your animals, are showing symptoms of immune depletion unresponsive to treatment I would recommend you have the premise checked for stray voltage or EMI.


Does Anybody Remember Posilac?

     A recent article in a major dairy publication bemoaned the fact that very few dairymen still used rBST.  To refresh your memory, rBST  was a controversial hormonal product sold by Monsanto in the 1990s.  Marketed under the brand name Posilac, the product was alleged to increase milk production in dairy cattle' 

     The author stated  the product was driven from the commercial market by consumer … “ignorance, misinformation and fear.”.

     Let’s examine the facts!

     It was known as early as 1937 that a pituitary hormone known as bovine somatotropin (BST) or bovine  growth hormone (BGH) increased milk production of lactating dairy cows.

     In the late 1970s the biotech company, Genentech was able to clone the gene for BST, now known as recombinant BST or rBST.  This opened the door for the production of marketable amounts of the hormone —


     Monsanto teamed with Genentech for commercial development of the product. Their first trial results were published in in 1981. The FDA reviewed the product in 1986 and deemed it safe for human consumption.  In 1994 Monsanto received approval and  began marketing rBST under the brand name Posilac.

     Despite industry hype that Posilac would mean cheaper milk, there were many concerns.  The dairy industry was thought the expected flood of milk might depress milk prices. Consumers worried about the effects on human health. Dairymen worried about health side-effects in their cattle. Critics called for more investigations.  Some Milk companies forbade the use of the product.  In the US, public opinion led some manufacturers and retailers to market only milk that is rBST-free.  Court battle were fought over such labelling. It was a mess. 

     The FDA, WHO, and NIH all claimed diary products and meat from [BST-treated cows are safe for human consumption.  However,  a European Union report on the animal welfare effects of rBST states that its use often results in "severe and unnecessary pain, suffering and distress" for cows, "associated with serious mastitis, foot disorders and some reproductive problems”  

     I believe these effects on animal health were  the actual reason producers began to shun the product — the negative effects on animal health wiped out any elusive profit from increased production.   It was not a great loss to the industry.  It is estimated only about one fourth of US dairies ever used Posilac.  Former Posilac using dairymen soon made up the slight decrease in production by paying more attention to basic good management. Within a year or two, they were producing just as much milk per cow as before — without the side effects.

      This whole episode is a good example of  companies trying to foist off technology on us that we do not need, that does not work, and may be deleterious to human and animals health and to the environment in the long run.  Think glyphosate here.  When these products are rejected by the consumers, they blame consumer ignornce. 

I think it’s time for some technocrats to come down from their industry sponsored ivory tower  and realize that not all technological advances result in something we need — most have no benefits, only risks.  They accuse us natural minded folks of rejecting science while they, in turn, reject the possibility they could be wrong and their science may be fraught with unintended consequences.

Oops, wait a minute, I guess I was wrong — Monsanto shareholders do benefit from their toxic technology.