Re: BST a flop? -Reply
Bob MacGregor (RDMACGREGOR@gov.pe.ca)
Wed, 13 Nov 1996 10:14:40 -0400
I think that the big danger from rBST is not to human health, but to the
small, less intensively managed dairy farms. Initially, it looked like rBST
was going to be another case of the technological treadmill (or, the
Prisoner's Dilemma, perhaps). That is, everyone would have to use it to
keep from being left behind.
However, my perspective now is that, for the most part, rBST is only
cost-effective for very large, intensively-managed operations (IF AT
ALL). Thus, any scale advantages that these operations already have
might be magnified by using rBST. The herd health problems associated
with use of rBST can only be mitigated with very intensive (and
expensive) herd health management (often involving more intensive drug
therapy for mastitis control!).
Also, the majority of dairy farmers that I know of (farmers with 30 to 60
cows), like their animals too much to consider inflicting additional
stresses on them -- they cull when they have to, but don't want to see
the turnover rate go up a lot, as it is likely to do if they used rBST.
Finally, in North America at least, dairy farmers suffer from an
oversupply of milk. Producing yet more milk, at lower prices, won't make
dairy farmers better off, but it may well reduce the total number of them.