Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer

Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer
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Anabolic growth-promoting drugs in meat production are by far the most potent hormones found in the food supply.

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In 1979, an epidemic of breast enlargement was noted in Italian children. Poultry or veal was suspected, given that estrogens may be fed to farm animals to accelerate their weight gain. After this episode, Europe banned the use of anabolic growth promoters in agriculture, and has banned the importation of American meat from animals injected with drugs like Zeranol, sold as Ralgro Magnum.

Zeranol is the one of the most potent known endocrine disruptors—100,000 times more estrogenic than the plastics chemical, BPA, for example. And Zeranol constitutes a special case among potential endocrine disruptors, because in contrast to all other estrogenic “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, Zeranol is present in human food, because it’s deliberately used—in fact, designed to be a potent, persistent, estrogen, whereas the estrogenic properties of the other chemicals are accidental.

And if you drip blood from a cow that’s been implanted with the drug on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, you can double the cancer growth rate. We don’t drink blood, though, but preliminary data also showed that muscle extracts, meat extracts, also stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation.

Furthermore, Zeranol may cause the transformation of normal breast cells into cancer cells in the first place. Zeranol-containing blood from implanted cattle was capable of transforming normal human breast cells into breast cancer cells within 21 days.

Obese women may be at greater risk of developing Zeranol-induced breast cancer, since they already have high levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, that can itself promote breast cancer growth. And Zeranol exposure can greatly enhance this growth-promoting action. This result also suggests that Zeranol may be more harmful to obese breast cancer patients than to normal weight breast cancer patients, in terms of breast cancer development.

In conclusion, because these anabolic growth promoters in meat production are, by far, the most potent hormones found in human food, we should really be testing people, especially children, before and after eating this meat. It amazes me that it hasn’t been done, and until it has, we have no idea what kind of threat they may pose—though the fact that Zeranol is as potent as estradiol—the primary sex steroid in women and DES—should concern us. DES is another synthetic estrogen marketed to pregnant women—all pregnant women until 1971, when it was shown to cause vaginal cancers in the daughters. But few know it was also used in meat.

In the absence of effective federal regulation, the meat industry uses hundreds of animal feed additives, with little or no concern about the carcinogenic and other toxic effects of dietary residues of these additives. Illustratively, after decades of misleading assurances of the safety of DES and its use as a growth-promoting animal feed additive, the United States finally banned its use some 40 years after it was first shown to be carcinogenic. The meat industry then promptly switched to other potentially carcinogenic additives, such as Zeranol.

When girls started dying from vaginal cancer, DES-treated meat was subsequently banned in Europe. However, misleading assurances, including the deliberate suppression of residue data, managed to delay a U.S. ban on DES in the meat supply for eight years.

Today, virtually the entire U.S. population consumes, without any warning, labeling, or information, unknown and unpredictable amounts of hormone residues in meat products over a lifetime. If all hormonal and other carcinogenic feed additives aren’t banned immediately, the least we could have is “explicit labeling requirements of the use and of [hormone] residue levels in all meat products, including milk and eggs.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Permission kindly granted by Dan Piraro at Bizarro.com for the cartoon

In 1979, an epidemic of breast enlargement was noted in Italian children. Poultry or veal was suspected, given that estrogens may be fed to farm animals to accelerate their weight gain. After this episode, Europe banned the use of anabolic growth promoters in agriculture, and has banned the importation of American meat from animals injected with drugs like Zeranol, sold as Ralgro Magnum.

Zeranol is the one of the most potent known endocrine disruptors—100,000 times more estrogenic than the plastics chemical, BPA, for example. And Zeranol constitutes a special case among potential endocrine disruptors, because in contrast to all other estrogenic “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, Zeranol is present in human food, because it’s deliberately used—in fact, designed to be a potent, persistent, estrogen, whereas the estrogenic properties of the other chemicals are accidental.

And if you drip blood from a cow that’s been implanted with the drug on human breast cancer cells in a petri dish, you can double the cancer growth rate. We don’t drink blood, though, but preliminary data also showed that muscle extracts, meat extracts, also stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation.

Furthermore, Zeranol may cause the transformation of normal breast cells into cancer cells in the first place. Zeranol-containing blood from implanted cattle was capable of transforming normal human breast cells into breast cancer cells within 21 days.

Obese women may be at greater risk of developing Zeranol-induced breast cancer, since they already have high levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, that can itself promote breast cancer growth. And Zeranol exposure can greatly enhance this growth-promoting action. This result also suggests that Zeranol may be more harmful to obese breast cancer patients than to normal weight breast cancer patients, in terms of breast cancer development.

In conclusion, because these anabolic growth promoters in meat production are, by far, the most potent hormones found in human food, we should really be testing people, especially children, before and after eating this meat. It amazes me that it hasn’t been done, and until it has, we have no idea what kind of threat they may pose—though the fact that Zeranol is as potent as estradiol—the primary sex steroid in women and DES—should concern us. DES is another synthetic estrogen marketed to pregnant women—all pregnant women until 1971, when it was shown to cause vaginal cancers in the daughters. But few know it was also used in meat.

In the absence of effective federal regulation, the meat industry uses hundreds of animal feed additives, with little or no concern about the carcinogenic and other toxic effects of dietary residues of these additives. Illustratively, after decades of misleading assurances of the safety of DES and its use as a growth-promoting animal feed additive, the United States finally banned its use some 40 years after it was first shown to be carcinogenic. The meat industry then promptly switched to other potentially carcinogenic additives, such as Zeranol.

When girls started dying from vaginal cancer, DES-treated meat was subsequently banned in Europe. However, misleading assurances, including the deliberate suppression of residue data, managed to delay a U.S. ban on DES in the meat supply for eight years.

Today, virtually the entire U.S. population consumes, without any warning, labeling, or information, unknown and unpredictable amounts of hormone residues in meat products over a lifetime. If all hormonal and other carcinogenic feed additives aren’t banned immediately, the least we could have is “explicit labeling requirements of the use and of [hormone] residue levels in all meat products, including milk and eggs.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Permission kindly granted by Dan Piraro at Bizarro.com for the cartoon

60 responses to “Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer

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        1. T Roqwe: Great find! I had seen that video in the past, but lost track of it. I love how he makes it very simple. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  1. I have personal experience with DES.. My mother in law took DES while pregnant with her last child. Both subsequently had positive markers for cancer. So back then I hear that they are giving DES to the animals in the feed lots, sister in law got cancer from DES..Hummmm.
    Momma did not raise no fool.. I stopped eating red meat back in the mid ’70 and never looked back.. Tapered off from chix and fish till I became a vegan years ago…
    mitch

    1. My mother took it with me. I am grateful to have three beautiful children, but I have 2 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy along with horrid estrogen sensitivities and “a bone marrow insult” = a terrible immune system from it. I am grateful we have had no cancers.

  2. 18 months ago, I went WFPB. I was skeptical at first, but the results speak for themselves. It brings peace of mind. Seemingly every week I get another story from a friend of family member suffering the predictable consequences of eating dead animal flesh & it’s byproducts due to a growing array of assorted contaminants. Yesterday we buried a close friend. I offered to help after his cancer diagnosis. He rejected this approach as “so-called medicine” with obvious condescension though he knows in detail my history and recovery from a seemingly hopeless state. IMO, he died of the treatment. It was sad to watch the deterioration progress. Another close friend emailed me saying he wished they had listened to me instead of their oncologists. Then that friend was diagnosed with cancer a week later. I again offered to help. He declined. Go figure.

    I suspect fear is a big factor. Many people, who rejected establishment protocols for lifestyle choices and recovered, tell how their doctor tried to use scare tactics to get them started on something that costs a lot of money. That stopped working once I learned the truth. It is liberating to not live in fear of these diseases, or the peddlers putting profits ahead of people.

    1. There’s a great little book by an Irish Doctor John Kelly Stop Feeding Your Cancer One Doctor’s Journey. He tells his story getting his cancer patients off meat and dairy products. It’s very interesting the results of his patients and how they responded.
      I became vegetarian in the early 70s also due to cruelty to animals through yoga. Later I went vegan and then when Fuhrman’s book came out I went on the PBD.

      It’s very difficult to talk to friends about the diet in fact I recently lost a friend who’d had one breast removed and now going through chemo after losing the second one. Over lunch one day I mentioned the above book to her and said I’d love to give it to her. The lunch finished coldly and I’ve never heard from her again. No one wants to listen trusting doctors and all the drugs. I don’t understand it but that’s the way it is. I don’t talk about my diet though friends and family knew when I went vegetarian and then vegan and it never causes problem. Strange isn’t it.

      1. Joel Fuhrman is another of my favorites. Don’t know John Kelly, but I’m always adding to my library so it seems likely to come.

        Regarding sharing, I continue to offer to share what I have learned with anyone who is receptive. If I get criticized for trying to help, so be it. I think we are dealing with a very complicated physiological problem few are aware of. Dr Russell Blaylock talks about excitotoxins, their use by the food industry, the addictive propensity of these “foods”, and the toxic effect on the body.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTSvlGniHok&list=PLM2c0VIYjLMQ9arPeoaO62eZNkXjjX3Lj&index=28
        I think this is why some otherwise rational people react so harshly to the thought of giving up their junk food.

    2. It doesn’t have to be either-or. A plant-based diet with a lot of variety can assist your recovery from traditional cancer treatment.

      1. Based on the collective research I’ve compiled, I view the process as follows:
        1) Cancer is the manifestation of a deeper problem where a weakened immune system is overwhelmed by stress, either physical, emotional or other sources, which are sustained over time.
        2) With our natural defense mechanisms compromised, cancer is allowed to proliferate and increase beyond our body’s ability to heal it.
        3) Although the body is constantly hunting down and destroying cancer in our body, it has it’s limits what it can do. And if cancer is allowed to multiply for an extended period of time, it eventually reaches a size where medical technology can detect it. Though the cancer has likely been there for years, medical technology just couldn’t see it until it was quite large.
        4) Traditional medicine would use either surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Surgery can work if limited it scope. Radiation is a known carcinogen. Chemo weakens our immune system, as well as killing good cells along with cancer cells. Their hope is they kill the cancer before they kill the host (that’s be us). But no chemo to my knowledge operates on CSC (cancer stem cells). Therefore, it is highly likely the cancer tumor can regenerate from the CSC, but now with a weakened immune system, is much more virulent. That is why so many cancer relapses are often fatal.
        5) My research has shown that if you have already decided on chemo, a strong diet and lifestyle choices would increases the success probability of chemo. But it does not negate the fact that chemo kills both good and bad cells, and weakens our natural defenses. So I concluded that chemo + good nutrition is better than chemo alone, but nutritional excellence alone is better than either.
        6) My research has shown that there a few limited cases where chemo is effective, but none of the most prevalent forms of cancer.

        Bottom line: if I ever get diagnosed with cancer . . . again. . . I will not agree to chemo for any reason.

        1. Thank you for your input.

          Honestly I feel like there are people trying to sell you stuff on both sides of the debate. I think if I were diagnosed with cancer the first thing I do is lock myself in a library until I understand things better. You make a good point with respect to cancer stem cells, but I would go back to the original research on that.

          Obviously the fact that cancer cells have ways of hiding themselves from the immune system is a major factor, as is the fact that cancer co-opts the body’s vasogenesis mechanisms. I am betting we have a breakthrough in one of these areas in the next 20 years.

          1. I appreciate your thoughtful response. CSC topic is fairly new to my research, but I’m always learning and adding to my electronic library.

            Your highlighting vasogenesis is one of the key elements to my natural protocols. Specifically, that is addressed in many presentations I have seen as one of the defenses to inhibit cancer proliferation. Dr G did it on video linked below. The key takeaway from my notes on his presentation is as follows:
            • Microscopic cancer cells are commonly present in the healthy adult, the result of errors during replication of 60-90 trillion cells. To acquire sustenance, the incipient tumors (60-80 cells) may migrate toward existing host vessels, a process known as vessel cooption, but their growth remains limited. Tumors are capable of growth to about 0.5 mm (cubed), or about 10 million cells, before reaching steady state growth. Beyond this size, their metabolic demands exceed the supply of oxygen and nutrients obtained by passive diffusion from nearby blood vessels.
            • Tumors then release diabolical angiogenic factors sprouting capillaries, the most important of which is VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). [they’re trying to build a blood vessel support network]
            • VEGF can be suppressed with vegetables. Many nutrients in fruit, veggies, beans, lentils, spices and tea can block cancer stimulation of new blood vessels.
            Here’s the link:
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/anti-angiogenesis-cutting-off-tumor-supply-lines/

            I appreciate the caliber of the discourse here. Dr G is IMO the gold standard for this research. Many people who comment also add to my knowledge. Be well.

  3. It takes years of study to prove chemicals safe to humans and the environment. I just can’t understand how chemicals like Zeranol can be added without years of study. Shouldn’t chemicals be proven safe first? I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I’m starting to wonder if government regulation is just a joke. I guess the only impact I can have is not eating meat or non-organics. I’m not sure there are any political candidates not in the pockets of big business.

    1. Yes, government regulation is a joke . . . all regulatory departments that make decisions about health are paid for by big business. You have to do your own research for sure.

      1. Congressmen and Senators spend almost all of their time raising money. Washington and Jefferson are rolling in their graves. Who can they troll for money? Wild foragers.com? Seed savers international? Part of how we get tricked is by the question they ask. Almost every whole food natural plant is medicinal, but they work more slowly. Chemo kills you very quickly and the cancer fairly quickly, but they are both faster than having an organic plant based lifestyle. Plant based is healthy and easy to maintain, but not prone to superhuman blasts of power……..that mostly kill you.
        John S

    2. Zeranol (more commonly in the literature, α-zearalanol) isn’t new. There were some studies dating back to the 1970s that found radiolabeled zeranol wasn’t deposited in edible tissue of animals. The closest I’ve seen to a study of human exposure I’ve seen is this Korean study, where zeranol was below detection limits in 200 samples of plasma, breast milk, urine and hair. So while there’s a lot to be wary of in the animal products, this one is a stretch.

      1. The studies in the video look like they do show some sort of change in animal tissue a month later that promotes cancer. Is it possible that there is some other confounding variable causing the cancer, but if the choice is to eat US meat or avoid it, does it really matter?

        1. Its possible that Zeranol has downstream effects on the animal tissue that might indirectly effect risk in meat consumers. I was mostly pointing out how its approval could have been a sensible regulatory decision at the time, given Zeranol doesn’t appear to remain or leave metabolites in edible tissue or consumers.

  4. Is this why some people find it mentally difficult to go Vegan? Are emotional-eaters of meat drug addicts without realizing? Do people who cut out meat get their own version of “cold turkey” and rebound?

    1. I believe meat eating is addicting. I belong to a small email group which is supposed to offer support and encouragement to make healthy lifestyle changes and when I suggested we do a vegan challenge the reaction was really surprising. They don’t think it’s healthy to cut out a food group and we take care of the animals so they are just paying us back. Pretty high price in my opinion.

      1. Is it possible to buy prepared meat in a low salt, low fat form? I wonder whether meat is addicting or whether salt and fat are addicting.

  5. My sister was born in 1959, she died in 2012 from ovarian cancer. I can’t help but wonder now, if DES didn’t help play a part in that.

    1. I am a DES son, and my sister a DES daughter. She and I have both had related health issues. The effects are not limited to cancer, although this is obviously the most serious. Futhermore, there is strong evidence for DES affecting the second generation. So easy to fall into using these powerful “wonder drugs”, so hard to forsee the consequences.

      1. Don’t know for sure if I was exposed pr not, but I have some of the symptoms. I had my first pelvic exam when I was around 7 yrs old, under general anesthesia, but I was awake when they prepped me.

        1. Long shot as old post but I recall being taken to hospital on several occasions as a young girl and being put to sleep for exams. Obviously I don’t know what happened when under but recall being taken out in gown and when I was getting sleepy someone would take my knickers off. My mom took DES and I have regular smear ca125 blood test and pelvic ultrasounds. I don’t know full details but this happened from young age onwards.
          Anyone else have similar memories

  6. “Die we must” but killing us for money is called murder…………………..and murderess should be punished!
    where are the food police?? please, someone help us not to die from the food we eat

  7. I feel a bit confused…if NO SALT in my diet I cramp up.(I get cramps)..so how much sodium DO I NEED..per day.?…(Oh well…I wanted to post this on NEXT article…LMAO)

    1. It’s a bit of a balancing act– too much sodium is harmful as is too little. Try increasing your sodium intake by maybe a 1/4 tsp of salt and see if that relieves your cramps. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat no more than 1.500 mg of sodium per day. If you eat whole foods without added salt, you may end up at around 500 mg/day. That leaves approximately 1,000 mg sodium that can be added– about 1/2 tsp. salt.

    2. I eat salt but I used to get cramp. Vitamin B12 supplement solved it.

      I eat less than one teaspoon of salt per day, enough to spice up my food and to get the iodine from iodized salt.

    1. The beef industry is trying to misinform the public I believe by saying a treated animal has 3.8ng of hormone and untreated 2.6ng, in a 6oz serving of meat , comparing that to a normal human male who would produce 138000 ng per day of estrogen. They claim it;s silly to even think that such a small amount of hormone could affect humans , they also claim the implants are tested and considered safe by government agencies.They also claim that cabbage has 2800ng of estrogen like hormone per pound. So the answer to your question is I guess that is why it is not banned.
      For me , since removing animal products from my diet , my health has improved, , would my health have improved eating hormone free beef , well can’t say for sure, but I highly doubt it.

    1. My recollection from something I ready years ago is that our bodies can make collagen from lysine and ascorbate, and those molecules are plentiful in broccoli.

    2. There is no “vegan” source for collagen – it is only found in animal tissue. All animals – including humans – make it. In essence, it consists of amino acids. In humans,collagen synthesis declines after about age 60. Supplements and high collagen animal foods are available but;
      “Due to the concern over adverse inflammatory and immunologic response and prevalence of various diseases among land animals which causes health complications, marine sources have started to be researched (Addad et al., 2011; Perumal, 2013; Exposito et al., 1999, 2002;).”
      http://www.japsonline.com/admin/php/uploads/1466_pdf.pdf

      However, I would think the risk pf adverse inflammatory and immunological responses would remain. That said, I understand that it is possible to obtain collagen from algae which are technically neither plant nor animal or possibly both.
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070619182508.htm

      Some algae collagen is used in cosmetics but is not, to my knowledge, currently available in the US in supplement or food form (although I might be out of date on this). Whether such collagen would be considered truly “vegan” in any event is a very interesting. question.

      As fencepost writes, though, you can boost collagen production naturally by ensuring you have an adequate intake of vitamin c and plant protein. This lightweight UK newspaper article spells out the basics although I am just as concerned about collagen in the joints.
      http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/how-keep-your-skin-looking-4185058

        1. Good questions. Re the first one,.algae were previously considered plants. Some sources still state that they are. However, botanical taxonomy has moved on. and the number of kingdoms of life has increased. However, some scientists use a 5-kingdom model and some a 6-kingdom model. To cut a long story short, some algae are still classified as plants while others are attributed to other kingdoms. As far as I know, none are yet officially classified as animals. The following link represents a search I did for “algae” on the ITIS database:
          http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt

          However, here is a study which appears to show that some algae contain collagen (and chitin). How this affects the general statement that collagen is only found in animal tissue is a matter for greater minds than mine – especially since the article also casually mentions the presence of collagen in fungi.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4141250/

          As for your second question, the short answer is probably yes. The long answer is that there are many different types of algae and the body uses a wide range of nutrients to make collagen, including amino acids, vitamins and minerals via various processes we probably still don’t fully understand. So, I do not know whether the body can make collagen from algae alone (and not all algae will have the same effect). However, spirulina for example contain high amounts of vitamin C, protein and other minerals and vitamins used in collagen formation and repair. So, it seems reasonable to assume that the answer is yes but I have not seen any studies that actually demonstrate this.

          Just to prove my original response to you was actually wrong, I found this algae collagen product advertised online by a Canadian website. I cannot vouch for it of course but it seems interesting:
          http://www.saveonnutrition.com/product_info.php?products_id=40

          1. It all gets a bit confusing. Lichens now have two fungi. Oyster mushrooms eat nematodes. Does that make them carnivores? What about pitcher plants and venus flytrap plants?
            John S

        1. Dietary collagen will presumably be broken down into its constituent amino acids and other nutrients in the stomach etc.
          The body makes collagen from amino acids and other nutrients. Some people argue that eating foods high in collagen will deliver the right combination of amino acids and that this will make it easier for the body to make its own collagen.
          As far as I know, this idea has not been scientifically validated but you will find a number of dubious websites promoting this and similar claims.
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4220187/Japanese-eat-collagen-in-attempt-to-stay-young.html

    3. Most dietary proteins (both animal and vegetable) are short in the glycine that comprise a third of the collagen molecule. This wouldn’t matter for our own collagen production if if, as commonly believed, glycine were non-essential. However, endogenous glycine production entails production of C1 units, and cannot proceed if the body cannot make use of the extra C1s. The same researchers estimate a glycine deficit of 8-10 g/d in humans. Elevated urinary pyroglutamic acid, particularly in those eating low-protein or vegetarian diets, is evidence that glycine may be semi-essential. Collagen (and the gelatin its rendered into) might be considered a glycine supplement, and there’s an extensive, largely positive literature on glycine supplementation, which improves sleep and metabolic health in humans, and is broadly cytoprotective, antiinflammatory, antiproliferative, prevents cataracts and mimics methionine restriction in animal studies. Glycine is actually cheaper ($12-13/lb, retail) as a USP pure synthetic compound than it costs as part of gelatin, and is as sweet as glucose.

      1. Thanks for the tip (and links). I might follow your example, although I usually dislike sweet tasting foods and drinks, because my osteoarthritis appears to be progressing.

      2. Is this a vegan form of glycine you are taking? Is it “synthetic”? I’d be interested in trying it out and hope, if you are willing, to provide a link for the brand you use. Thank you either way.

        1. Glycine is unique among protein amino acids in that its achiral (its mirror image is identical), and that means chemical synthesis is relatively simple. Some petrochemicals are probably used to make the precursors. Glycine is produced industrially in several grades, but just about any glycine you can buy by the pound will meet US Pharmacopeia (USP) standards (> 98.5% glycine, < 0.01% contaminants) and approved for food use. I get mine from PipingRock, but its just a label on an industry-wide standard product.

      3. I just saw your other post on glycine supplements, so I guess that gives an answer, but still wondering what supplement you take if you think it is of merit, or better than others.

      1. robert: Good catch! Here’s the NutritionFacts summary page on the topic of phytoestrogens: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/phytoestrogens/ Phytoestrogen means “plant estrogen”. It’s not the same thing as estrogen-esterogen, the real stuff found in dairy and meats. It’s so weird to me when people express concern over phytoestrogens all the while eating cheese….

        1. Ok thanks for the comment. So the beef industries is posting misleading info when they post estrogen levels of plant foods , comparing them to hormone levels in meat . Good to know. Computerfusion .

      2. You are right. I didn’t read it carefully and thought it is added. I will delete the misleading link.

        This is the same case when people used to make against soy estrogen. It’s not the same.

  8. Truly frightening. And my loved ones are still eating lots of it. Well, maybe I can draw some comfort from the idea that they mostly eat hamburger. Isn’t that mostly burned-out dairy cows? They aren’t pushed to put on muscle as are beeves [the singular of ‘beef’].

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