Springfield (KPTM) – A Nebraska based consumer awareness group is trying to end the use of muscle enhancing drugs in youth livestock show competitions.
Beef Additive Alert says that it is unethical for organizations like 4-H and the Future Farmers of America to allow its participants to feed cattle muscle doping drugs called beta agonists.
"We're sending children the wrong message," said spokeswoman, Susan Stern. "It's creating an unlevel playing field in the show ring."
Like steroids used by athletes, these drugs drop fat and increase muscle quickly. They are normally used in the last few weeks of an animal's life before slaughter to get more pounds on the scale.
"We feel that it does change the anatomy of the animal," said president and cattle rancher Gerald Timmerman. "Not the natural growth factor."
These drugs are approved by the F. D.A. but famous agricultural scientist, Temple Grandin, says that when it comes to kids using them she is hesitant.
"I am concerned that children will feed too much beta agonists to steers and cause animal welfare problems," said Grandin. "I also think that marketing beta agonists to kids and encouraging them to bulk up their animal with a drug teaches poor values."
Beef Additive Alert has a petition asking these groups to come down on cattle doping.
The U.N.L. Extension Office who runs 4-H says it isn't aware of cases that this has happened. Timmerman thinks people are closed mouthed about it.
"I think nobody admits to it, but the product's out there and they are selling it."
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