About BST

About BST

Photo: Bovine Veterinarian

In the USA it will be unable to market milk after December 31, 2015 without a signature from each farm committing to producing “rbST-free milk”. In the dairy industry a ban on using BST always gives rise to a discussion that there are no negative effects of BST, it is a hormone that every cow makes herself in her body, and it is safe for consumption, so why should it not be allowed? As an example of this, read the opening of August 2015’s edition of the -excellent as always- W.H. Miner Institute’s Farm Report.

The crucial point is not the scientific evidence about the fact that BST-use is safe for both humans consuming milk, milk products and meat, and for the cows. Although the swellings on the injection site of BST suggests painful tissue reactions.

The crucial point is respect for the cow. Each cow is an animal that has the right to be a cow, to behave as a cow and to live a positive life.

“The public” does not regard cows as machines and does not respect people who do so. Machines can be manipulated in any way, have no perceptions, no stress and no pain sensitisation. Machines you can inject with hormones regardlessly, to increase and manipulate outcomes.

As mr. Frits van der Schans of the Dutch Centre of Agriculture and Environment has put it in an interview in the dairy farmers magazine Veeteelt: “A cow is not a thing.” He also said: “What would otherwise be the added value of cows milk compared to soya-milk?” (quotes translated by Vetvice).

For the good reader: the same is the case with routine use of synchronized breeding practices, like OvSync. The public, the society does not want this!!!

When the society looses respect for dairy farming, it will not want to pay for dairy products. Good milk prices are founded on respect from society for both dairy farmers as for dairy products.

The dairy industry has a good future as long as it gives cows, consumers and environment the respect they deserve.

Vetvice and the CowSignals say: “Happy cows, happy farmers” and “Happy cows, happy consumers, happy planet”.

Comments (15)

Dr. Waseem Ahmad

I do agree with the comments of Jon Hulsen & in favor that cows should be cows not machines.

Dr Owen Atkinson

Jan has captured the argument succinctly and I support his view strongly.
As veterinary scientists, forever encouraged to take an evidenced based approach, the larger societal picture can sometimes be lost. Farming with respect for nature and animals is a cornerstone for sustainability and vital for successful human society.
Well done!

Dr. Hubert Karreman

As I have always said, if two farmers are both making the same amount of milk and one is using rbST and one is not, I know who the better farmer is. The same holds true for reproduction and the use of all the OvSynch protocols versus someone who is attaining the same repro rate without using hormones (there is data from the US organic sector showing this to be true). In reading the Miner Institute article, the Agri-Mark cooperative in the northeastern US may be ending its pickup of milk produced with the aid of rbST, but other parts of the US still can use it. It hasn't died yet, though it probably will due to public demand. I always find it interesting that scientists (usually funded to some degree by pharma) insist on relying solely on scientific studies and disregard public opinion if it opposes the scientific studies - this in the country where the free market is supposed to reign supreme.

Mufaddal Mirza

MSB eUniversity Waste-Wind-Red Sun powered Dairy Village Campuses will assure that cows are enjoying the Total Quality Life to assure that Total Quality Milk and Dairy products are delivered to MSB eUniversity Families..

Ana Ruiz

I am very happy to see that there are other experts in the industry who see a need to end the use of BST. It is purely a money-making substance that threatens the health and well-being of each cow it is used on. It covers up poor management practices enabling farmers to view the cow as a machine. It should never have been allowed on the market. I hold the same belief that a cow is a cow and deserves to live a happy life. I do hope that there will be STRICT penalties for any farm found using BST after December. Jan Hulsen, good article!

Ana Ruiz

"Of course all milk contains small amounts of naturally-occurring bST and there’s no difference between cows treated with rbST or not." From the W.H. Miner Institute's Farm Report. Anyone with cow sense, who has been on an operation where rBST is given can attest that there is a difference. The cows age more rapidly, have poorer body condition and reproductive challenges. Their organs are also larger. Next question to ask is why Canadian veterinarians didn't find this statement true and lost their jobs because they wouldn't condone the selling of rBST is Canada.


I view rBST as a scientifically proven dairy managment tool that lost comsumer favor. The verdict on rBST is not based on any scientific scholarship that I have seen, but on an emotional "gut reaction." My concern about the rBST ban does not lie with rBST itself, but the technologies that will be banned in the future. Based on the line of thinking some people espouse, I suspect that embryo transfer and artificatial insemination could one day be outlawed as well. After all, we are not allowing bulls to be bulls.

Sandra Baxendell

The consumers social license is important and should never be underestimated. The dairy cattle industry world-wide also need to start eradicating chronic untreatable diseases like Bovine Leucosis & JD. Australian dairy cattle industry has now eradicated Bovine Leucosis

Antonio Gomes

I see with concern the banning of technology from animal production on the grounds of "animal rights". We have the duty to keep our animals healthy and contented, but our mission is to produce good and affordable food, and our rightful expectation is to make a fair profit from it. Well-meaning people who sanctify animal rights are playing into the hands of minorities bent on putting an end to animal farming for twisted ideological reasons.


I like the respect for the cow/animal approach.
In Sweden/Nordic countries it is not allowed as a respect to the animal and to put some pressure on the farmer to actually look at his cows every day and get to know them.
Nice article!


Great story, a relief to read this, hope this story spreads too!

Mike Lormore

rbST did not lose favor with consumers. The vast majority know little, if anything substantive of it. That same majority of consumers have confidence that farmers are doing the right things for their cows, the environment and their businesses.
rbST did lose favor with marketing organizations and retailers. Some of those groups also saw it as an opportunity to differentiate milk that is no different and appeal to a consumer base with higher-than-average disposable incomes who sought to differentiate their lifestyles through food based on marketing programs and perception, not nutritional science.
Once the movement to restrict access to the technology started in the US fluid markets, it largely became a game of mathematical dominoes, forced followers and "me too". As noted, there is still a lot of rbST sold in some dairy markets in the US and that is unlikely to change. It remains the largest single selling livestock pharmaceutical in the US. Recent estimates are that over 35 million US cows have successfully completed lactations where POSILAC was used, which seems a very bold statement in and of itself about the safety of the product. I trust farmers would not continue use if they noted problems with their herds. In addition, there are reams of peer-reviewed, scientific publications on the topic.
Consumer research shows that most consumers buy milk based on fat content, price and expiration date. Regional branding is a distant fourth. The presence or absence of rbST labeling is way, way, way down the list of desired product attributes. It may even be safe to say that there are more consumers focused on milk certified as organic than there are consumers focused on milk from cows not supplemented with rbST.
For those concerned about the health impacts on cows, the latest review of safety and performance data was presented last week by Dr. Dale Bauman at the annual AABP meetings in New Orleans. The work is an evaluation of cow well-being which involved meta-analysis of 26-studies with over 13,000 cows using rbST according to label. The conclusions were that milk was increased with no adverse effects on udder health, body condition, reproduction, or lameness. Thus, current management practices used by dairy producers are adequate for safe and effective use or rbST. This work is currently in publication in JDS if memory serves me.

Joep Driessen

HI everyone, according to the many reactions, this is a subject of importance to you! Great to hear what you all think, thank you very much for sharing your opinion.

Anouk Brinkhoff

The message from Miner is the result of a decision by their milk marketing coop. IT does not apply to the total industry. There are still a fair number of herds using BST but there are also some cooperatives that require their producers not to use BST. My feeling is that since it is an approved product, the dairy producer is the person who should make the decision o the use of BST.

Anouk Brinkhoff

The message from Miner is the result of a decision by their milk marketing coop. IT does not apply to the total industry. There are still a fair number of herds using BST but there are also some cooperatives that require their producers not to use BST. My feeling is that since it is an approved product, the dairy producer is the person who should make the decision o the use of BST.

Thanks for your comment. I know it is still used in many farms and also in other countries.

We try to educate farmers and advisors to double the lifetime of cows...
30% methane reduction is possible!

Focus of the article is respect for the cow and to give her what she needs.

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