Meanwhile, a Nebraska-based consumer awareness campaign calls for an end to using beta-agonists in cattle involved in national youth show ring competitions. Beef Additive Alert™  says its demands an immediate prohibition of the beta-agonists by both the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture NIFA) and the U.S. Education Department’s Future Farmers of America organization. The campaign is aimed at banning both Zilmax and Optaflexx.

Beef Additive Alert is the brainchild of beef producers Gerald Timmerman, a producer and cattle feeder based in Nebraska, and Harvey Dietrich, a rancher and former president of Sunland Beef in Arizona. The two describe themselves as veteran large-scale ranchers, each with 50 years’ cattle industry experience. They are passionate about raising top quality cattle free of aggressive performance-enhancing drugs, they say. They launched their national consumer awareness/action campaign to let (educate) Americans know what’s really going on behind-the-scenes in the highly competitive 4-H & FFA show rings, they say.

In this day and age of athlete doping scandals, those behind the campaign are greatly alarmed at the lesson this teaches the nation’s youth, especially since the 4-H motto is to “Make the Best Better” and “Learn By Doing”, says spokeswoman Susan Stern. “Basically, we are telling kids that it is acceptable to cheat to win. We disagree”. Billed as “The Competitive Advantage You can’t Win Without,” and “Essential Show Feeds”, zilpaterol cattle feed additives are marketed to show ring youngsters nationwide, she says.

Beef Additive Alert has the support of renowned animal scientist Temple Grandin, who says she is concerned that children will feed too much beta-agonist additives to steers and cause animal welfare problems. She also thinks that marketing beta-agonists to kids and encouraging them to bulk up their animal with a drug teaches poor values, she says.


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