Hormone milk must be labelled RSPCA

2 December 1999

Hormone milk must be labelled — RSPCA

PRODUCTS containing milk from herds treated with controversial yield-boosting hormone BST should be clearly labelled, claims a leading animal welfare charity.

The RSPCA says this would allow consumers to decide which kind of farming and animal welfare system they support with their purchases.

This comes as the European Union considers renewing a moratorium on BST, which expires this month. BST milk is widely available in North America.

BST (bovine somatotropin) is a genetically modified version of naturally occurring growth hormone which is claimed to boost milk yield by 10-15%.

But treatment with BST is associated with “severe” welfare problems such as mastitis in dairy cows, birthing problems, lameness, and strong evidence of decreased body condition.

In a report to the government in the autumn, the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC) did not dismiss a link with colonic cancer in humans and called for further studies.

The government said it would support a continuation of the ban.

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