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Zilmax: Slaughterhouse Observations Raise New Concerns about This Growth-Promoting Drug

Zilmax for Cattle

Story at-a-glance -

  • Zilmax is class of non-hormone drugs recently used in animals to promote growth. It, and others like it are fed to cattle in the weeks prior to slaughter to increase weight by as much as 30 pounds of lean meat per cow
  • Tyson Foods announced in September that it would stop buying Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter due to concerns about Zilmax potentially causing health or behavioral problems for some cattle
  • Zilmax is already banned for use in horses due to severe side effects, including muscle tremors and rapid heart rates that can last as long as two weeks after stopping the drug
  • Before beta-agonsists like Zilmax were approved, scientists worried that this class of drug could result in increased cardiovascular risk for consumers
  • Merck is actively working on getting Zilmax back on the US and Canadian markets

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