A study published last week in the journal Nature focused on the longer term environmental effects of trenbolone acetate or TBA, which is the steroid commonly given to beef cattle that mimics testosterone and speeds up muscle growth. That is, it helps a cow grow “beefier” in a shorter period of time, to maximize the efficiency of cruel livestock farming. Cows given TBA excrete it as a compound called 17-alpha-trenbolone, which washes away into groundwater and shallow stream beds. The compound is known to break down in sunlight and it was previously thought that it had no lasting effect on the environment, but the study proves that the compound reverts back to its original state in darkness. Effectively, that means it temporarily disappears and then reappears elsewhere in the environment—namely, in the fish living in those stream beds. The study reveals a wicked side effect of the meat industry: a host of reproductive-related problems in minnows living downstream from cattle farms, including “reduced reproduction rates, partial or complete sex reversal, and alterations to their endocrine system,” all attributed directly to the run-off from hormones given to cows raised for the mere purpose of becoming hamburgers and steaks.

Via Modern Farmer

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