Thursday, 18 October 2012

Dangerous Milk? Steroid Injections for Cows Could Endanger Human Lives

The milk from cows injected with steroids may cause low immunity level in humans, leading to several diseases. Such animals are given steroids so that they can produce more milk. Also, steroid injections are known to speed up the process of fowl or calf birth in animals.

Several cattle pen owners use this unnatural method to increase their profits. Sadly, this also leads to low infertility among cows and buffaloes. Generally, the owners of cattle pens inject 2cc of steroids in buffaloes twice a day. This injection is available in markets for Rs10-12. It increases the body temperature of buffaloes, as a result of which the milk discharge is quicker. However, the animals stop giving milk when the effect of the injection wears off. 

Moreover, this is practiced on those cows whose newly-born calves are separated from them so that the milk production is high. The calves are sold in Kutta Market situated in Buffalo Colony (Bhains Colony), which are then slaughtered and sold to restaurants. Their skin is sold at high prices. 

The Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Karachi, Dr Qaisar Sajjad, says that these injections affect humans also when they drink this milk. For one thing, the immunity level decreases when the steroid-treated milk is consumed consistently. Ailments such as flu, hair loss, obesity, high cholesterol level and sometimes kidney failure are the most common result of this. 

Furthermore, Sajjad said that “there may be problems in deliveries as well and that this practice is slow poisoning for consumers". He added that such milk may also cause early maturity in children. 

The veterinary surgeon, Dr Isma Gheewala, presents a different side to this issue. According to her, cows are unable to produce naturally because when their calves aren’t present, their bodies are unable to produce the hormone which stimulates the milk-producing glands. Therefore, injections of the hormone oxytocin are used to stimulate their pituitary glands. 

She said that, generally the effects of the injection last for only two hours. The procedure is not used unnecessarily because it is not how one can get more milk. She maintains that the injections have no side effects on animals.

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