Effects of Growth Hormones on Carcass Composition

Hormonal effects are important in controlling body composition, as shown by the differences between entire males and castrates. These effects can also be achieved by exogenous administration of hormones, through implants behind the ear in the case of estrogens and androgens, and via the diet in the case of p-adrenergic agonists. Growth hormone must be given by intramuscular injection. All these materials are effective in changing body composition, although they are not allowed in the European Union because of the potential safety risk. This also applies to lamb imported into the European Union. Ralgro, a compound with estrogenic effects, is licensed for use in the United States, but is not widely used at present. It appears that the use of hormones for controlling body composition in sheep is much less common than in beef and is likely to reduce further under pressure from consumers.

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