Is The Concern Over Zilmax™ Warranted?

Because of animal welfare concerns, the use of the beta-agonist Zilmax™ has been banned by major packers in the fed cattle they buy, and Merck Animal Health has temporarily pulled it from the U.S. and Canadian market. This week’s online poll question is: “Is the concern over Zilmax warranted?

Be sure to post your thoughts in the comments section after voting.

Discuss this poll 12

on Nov 7, 2013

There should ALWAYS be concern over any medications/drugs being fed to any livestock! To ensure that the medications/drugs are safe for livestock and humans who may consume the livestock.

on Sep 10, 2013

None of this conversation makes any difference because the beef we are producing today, is becoming tough and tasteless. When we start getting paid for quality first and then pounds, then maybe the business will begin to improve.

on Sep 12, 2013

This is a very relevent survey. But the fact remains that everyone tip toes around the real issues and bring into the conversation issues that do not pertain. If i hear one more person talk about feeding the poor starving people, really is a bad argument. I have x amount of dollars in what i produce and i need to sell it for that x amount +. My bottom line is if they can't afford it, well...tuff. And trust me the beef industry isnt flying in crates full of tbones to the darfur or sudan regions either, so lets just drop the feed the poor skit, it just aint so. Secondly, in the commodity biz we as producers ned every advantage we can get to stay profitable, we all know that. I use ralgro, have for years, it does a fine job, i eat my own beef and havent developed udders yet, so as far as what the science says and my own observations on this particular product to me it seems safe enough. But the real issue in this whole thing that no one wants to talk about is that food accross the board is too cheap, flat out to cheap, and we as producers keep getting less and less of the pie.

on Sep 6, 2013

It is a great online website survey idea, very timely. That said, :) it is college survey 101, that this polling method is unbinding & unscientific. Nothing at all can be extrapolated from the "results". In fact, findings tell us solely about the opinions of those who participated, which is likely, heavily skewed.

Let's put it this way: Let's say Cattle Feeder Joe is a pro beta agonist proponent. He might contact all his like-minded pals encouraging them to vote said way on a site they might frequent. This is not a random survey sample.

It should be noted, however, not all online polling is unreliable. Google Consumer Surveys ranked #2 for 'Accuracy and Bias in the 2012 Presidential Election', compared to several traditional surveying methods: live person, robodial and via internet.

A marketer tip: Google appears to have a reliable polling product, producing results with "a close approximation to a random sample of the US Population & results as accurate as Probability Panels".

Probability Panels definition: an estimate of "attitude or opinion in the entire population with statistical confidence", methodology which provides the "foundation for survey research and political polling".


So yes, while very timely, unfortunately, "The Concern Over Zilmax™ Warranted?" website poll herein really, honestly, doesn't tell us anything of measurable value.

Read>'s article entitled "Why Online Polls are Bunk".

Also read: "Which Polls Fared Best & Worst in the 2012 Presidential Election' by NYTimes writer Nate Silver:

Susan Stern
Campaign Director
USA Beef Additive Alert (tm)

on Sep 6, 2013

The truth is we can obtain our protein needs in a variety of ways with much debate over what is the best "protein" for us to digest and utilize. There is also demand from millions of consumers here and abroad for beef because it tastes great. There are also billions more that don't have enough food on a daily basis and yearn for more options. Until demand is eliminated or outlawed there will be systems in place to fill those demands. The vast majority of consumers do not want to have beef elminated as a food choice and those less fortunate will continue to strive for more options with the hope of someday adding animal protein to their diet. Let's continue to improve the systems we have in place and continue to improve the environment of the animals supplying this valued sustenance. They deserve to be treated with respect and taken care of in a humane way.

on Sep 6, 2013

Go ahead an eat that 6 pounds of feed Einstein.

on Sep 6, 2013

The less we pump into cattle the better our reputation with consumers will be. it's not all that good right now.

on Sep 6, 2013

Let's not forget the impact on tenderness

on Sep 6, 2013

This is a great technological advance for sustainability for meat production world wide, everyone from the cattle feeder to the steak cutter benefits from this technology. Meat is a the premier protein source for protein requirement in our diets.

on Sep 6, 2013

Really? Read this from Beef Additive Alert:

MYTH: The World’s hunger problem can be solved by feeding cattle muscle-bulking beta agonist feed additives which produce more meat that’s available for starving people to eat.

FACT: The conversion rates don’t add up. It takes takes approximately 6 (six) pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of beef.

Now compare that to fish, poultry & pork.

In fish, it takes about 1 pound of feed to produce 1 pound of edible fish. In poultry, that's 2 (two) pounds feed to produce 1 pound of poultry. Pork requires about 3.5 (three-point-five) feed pounds to make 1 pound of pork foodstuff. It requires 6 (six) pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of eatable beef.

So, no, the American beef industry, by feeding cattle beta agonists, will not solve the World’s food hunger problems NOR will these feed additives increase the quantity of edible BEEF available to starving countries. To re-emphasize, in consecutive order, there’s (1) Fish, (2) poultry and (3) pork products that are more economically advantageous to feed hunger-stricken countries than beef.

on Sep 6, 2013

The figures above are correct with reference to feed efficiency, but only if we assume that al feed is the same and that all animal feed cannot be eaten by humans - which f course it can't. A far more accurate way to look at feed efficiency and the potential for feeding the world is to compare the proportion of animal feed that is human edible, with the output of animal product (beef, pork, chicken etc) that is human edible. There's a great paper on this by Dr Mike Wilkinson published in the journal "Animal" - that paper showed that extensive rangeland-fed beef and conventional dairy production outputted more human-edible protein than they ever consume, and that they are more efficient than either pigs or poultry. To use your verbiage, that means 1) dairy, 2) beef and then pork, chicken etc that are more economically advantageous to feed hunger-stricken countries than beef.

Dr Jude Capper.

on Sep 15, 2013

Well said, thank you. Cattle are great grass to meat converters, and we should pay a premium for grass fed meat. Using enhancers for more efficient production makes good sense. Lower consumption of grass, water and fewer hooves and less methane per acre/pound meat produced. The issue here is showing of animals, I would not consider it necessary or a true reflection of the animal on show. I feel good genetic breeding values (EBV) should carry more
weight at showing of animals. The best looker is usually not the most efficient animal.
I also have a major issue with poaching the oceans, fishermen (companies) not producing or replacing what they harvest.
H Delport

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