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Whistle-blowers on BGH Win Suit

Two award-winning investigative reporters, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson recently won their lawsuit against the Fox-owned WTVT in Tampa.  The television station dismissed them after being strongly pressured by BGH-maker Monsanto to suppress a story about the widespread use of a controversial bovine growth hormone Florida dairymen have been secretly injecting into their cows.

Fox lawyers have been appealing the verdict on the grounds, among others, that “technically there is no law, rule, or regulation against deliberate news distortion by a television station licensed to use the public airwaves.”

Though legal since approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, the artificial hormone commonly known as BGH has been linked to cancer and is banned throughout Europe, Canada and New Zealand and is unapproved in several other countries because of human health concerns.

The never-broadcast report also reveals how Florida supermarkets quietly reneged on promises not to sell milk from treated cows until the hormone gained widespread acceptance by consumers. All major supermarkets now admit BGH has found its way into virtually all the state’s milk supply.

Many scientists have expressed strong concerns about a possible link between cancer and the consumption of milk from cows injected with the synthetic hormone. Nonetheless, Monsanto which developed and sells the product has always insisted use of the hormone poses no human health risk of any kind. The FDA, whose veterinary medicine branch approved the animal drug in 1993, agrees.

Scientists who oppose the use of BGH argue that it both leads to changes in the cows’ milk and is said to shorten the life of the cow by speeding up its metabolism and causing certain infections,. Dr. Samuel Epstein at the University of Illinois says, "There are highly suggestive if not persuasive lines of evidence showing that human consumption of milk from treated cows poses unnecessary risks of breast and colon cancer."

Epstein, an acknowledged expert on the environmental causes of cancer, has three medical degrees, is the author of nine books, and is frequently called to testify as an expert before Congress. Other respected experts share his position. Some like Dr. William von Meyer have stated further concerns about whether BGH milk may cause other long-term health problems in humans. All the critics and even some BGH supporters agree the possibility has never been thoroughly investigated.

Full coverage of the suit and detailed information about the use of Bovine GrowthHhormone in dairy cattle are to be found at