3. Reinforce appropriate management practices for feeder customers to include overall nutrition and feeding objectives, animal handling, low-stress environments and transportation, based on audit findings;
4. Form the Merck Animal Health Advisory Board within the next 30 days, made up of representatives from small, medium and large feeders, packers, cow-calf operators, as well as animal health and nutrition experts, to review available data; and
5. Share findings and remain transparent about the review and audit process.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association stood by Merck's claim that that the product is safe, noting that, "there is no scientific basis for saying the use of beta-agonists caused the animal welfare concerns cited by Tyson in their decision to stop buying cattle fed Zilmax. "
However, the group said it will also undertake a review of current scientific studies and real-life observations to supplement the work of Merck and explore any possible correlation between the use of beta-agonists and reported animal welfare issues.
"Our goal is to fully understand how the use of these products impacts animal welfare in real-life conditions. If this process determines the current use of beta-agonists is compromising animal welfare, we will take appropriate action to ensure that every animal raised for food receives the proper care it deserves," NCBA said.
Tyson competitors Cargill and National Beef both have no plans to change suppliers' mandated production practices in regards to similar supplements.