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July 27, 1957


Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.

From the Laboratory of Nutrition and Endocrinology, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

JAMA. 1957;164(13):1473-1476. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.62980130009012

An important recent development in the food-producing industry is the administration of compounds with estrogenic activity to beef cattle and poultry to improve growth and feed efficiency. The practice is especially prevalent today in the beef cattle industry; it is estimated that several million beef cattle each year, or about two-thirds of all cattle in feed lots in the United States, are being treated with estrogenactive compounds. In addition, many millions of chickens and turkeys are being treated annually.

The widespread use of estrogens in livestock raising is largely a result of the established benefits: reported increases of as much as 20% in weight (averaging about 12%), earlier marketing, an average of about 10% saving in feed, and, often, improved carcass quality.1 Although the practice of "hormonizing" beef cattle started as recently as November, 1954, it is now firmly established and is understandably popular with feedmen. It is to