Yesterday we caught this Fox News segment complaining about meat and poultry “pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.” It was shocking in the amount of misinformation and disregard for the facts in one three minute segment. We wrote the following letter in response, but have to wonder: is this a new liberal, vegan Fox News? If you agree that their facts are wrong, join us in reaching out to Gretchen Carlson and Cheryl Casone.
Dear Ms. Carlson and Ms. Casone:
We were stunned to see your error-ridden segment (or perhaps ‘rant’ is a more apt description) on Fox yesterday about meat and poultry. The statements both of you made simply cannot be supported by facts and seem based upon little more than rumor, speculation and personal bias.
Let me be clear: hormones are never used in poultry or pork production. They are simply not permitted. While they are used in some beef cattle production, the amount that is used must be put in context, which this video featuring Texas A & M’s Dr. Rhonda Miller aims to do.
What you clearly do not understand is that no food or living organism is “hormone free.” Certainly food can be produced without added hormones, but by their nature, all foods contain hormones and many contain far higher levels that cattle treated with hormones or cattle that are never given hormnes. Consider that a pound of soybean oil contains 900,000 nanograms of estrogen per pound. Compare that to 1.9 nanograms per pound found in beef produced using hormone implants and 1.7 nanograms per pound in non-implanted beef.
Your comments alleging a link between meat and poultry consumption and early puberty were simply reckless. Had you bothered to check reliable sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) discussion of early puberty and its causes, you will see no mention of meat, poultry or any other food for that matter. I encourage you to contact AAP for further information.
In terms of the humane treatment of livestock, I would refer you to our dedicated site www.animalhandling.org where you can read about our 25 year partnership with leading animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin and view our “Glass Walls” unscripted videos that show how livestock are handled and slaughtered in U.S. plants. Keep in mind that federally inspected slaughter plants have inspectors present, at all times, continuously monitoring compliance with the federal Humane Slaughter Act.
Finally, your comments about antibiotic use were incredibly irresponsible. Not treating animals with antibiotics when they need them could be construed as inhumane just as not treating a sick pet with antibiotics when needed would be. The industry has voluntarily ceased the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and we offer many products derived from animals that are raised without antibiotics, but antibiotics will always be a necessary tool for veterinarians and we support their judicious use. Please see the American Veterinary Medical Association’s statement on this.
Keep in mind that even animals raised without antibiotics sometimes get sick and need them. If they do require treatment, antibiotics are administered appropriately with oversight from a veterinarian. When an animal has recovered and a after a mandatory withdrawal time has passed, that animal can be processed for food, though the resulting meat will not be labelled “Raised without antibiotics.” I am attaching a Media MythCrusher about the antibiotics issue.
I hope it is clear to you that your story should be retracted. The public has the right to expect far better reporting from any journalist and most especially from Fox News.
The U.S. is fortunate to have the safest, most bountiful and most affordable meat and poultry supply in the world. Your segment did a great injustice both the truth and to the hard-working men and women who produce meat and poultry.