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Stop giving animals this drug banned in much of the world!

This petition had 119,817 supporters

Smithfield, one of the biggest meat companies in the world, is giving animals a drug that’s not used in 160 countries because it risks public health and animal welfare while unnaturally accelerating weight gain in animals raised for meat. However Smithfield still uses ractopamine in the United States! Please sign to tell Smithfield you want this drug out of its supply chain!

The U.K., China, Russia, Taiwan, and the European Union ban or limit the use of ractopamine, a drug that promotes growth in pigs, cattle, and turkeys. Ractopamine is linked with serious health and behavioral problems in animals, and human studies are limited but evoke concerns, according to the Center for Food Safety.

The U.S. meat industry uses ractopamine to accelerate weight gain and promote feed efficiency and leanness in pigs, cattle, and turkeys. The drug mimics stress hormones.

Ractopamine is fed to an estimated 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the U.S. meat industry, ractopamine use has resulted in more reports of sickened or dead pigs than any other livestock drug on the market. According to FDA’s own calculations, more pigs have been adversely affected by ractopamine than by any other animal drug—more than 160,000.

Ractopamine’s effects include toxicity and other exposure risks, such as behavioral changes and cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, reproductive, and endocrine problems. It is also associated with high stress levels in animals, “downer” or lame animals, hyperactivity, broken limbs, and death.

Based on a lack of available evidence of ractopamine’s safety, most countries have taken a cautionary approach to the presence of ractopamine in their national food systems.

In other words, with the jury still out, they have opted out.

Russia has even announced a ban of imported beef, pork and turkey that is not certified rac- topamine-free, and China announced it would stop importing U.S. pork effective March 1, 2013 unless it is certified ractopamine-free by a third party.

While few consumers are aware of ractopamine’s use in meat production, the drug has been at the center of international trade disputes for several years, reported NBC News.

In light of the escalating rates of diseases in the United States and the concern over antibiotic resistance we are now seeing, isn't it time to ask: What price are we paying for a meat supply so hopped up on drugs? And isn't it time to join the 160 other countries around the world and begin to do something about it?

Smithfield, one of the largest U.S. pork producers, has at least one production plant that is 100% ractopamine-free and was expected to have its largest plant 100% ractopamine-free by March 1, 2013. These two plants likely service Smithfield’s E.U. and Chinese customers.

However, Smithfield said that it will continue to produce pork with ractopamine for other customers. This means Americans!

Please join me in asking Smithfield to go ractopamine-free here in the United States.

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