Friday, July 10, 2009


A recent post “Science or Spin” drew a comment from one of the authors of the article I criticized, which I now have with the post. Since many may not go back here is what she wrote:


You state that "Nowhere in the article is there any mention of rbST". There's a reason for that - the article is based on data from our recent paper in the Journal of Animal Science comparing U.S. dairying in 1944 to 2007. The use of rbST was covered in a previous paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

If you're going to criticize (sic) the work, may I suggest that you actually read the papers in future? Otherwise you might look a little silly.

Dr Jude Capper

This is the paper:

Actually, I had read both papers and believe both are typical of much which comes from academics – develop a computer model, put in the assumptions to reach the desired conclusion and voila, a “new study.”

There is a very good reason why I lumped rbST into the post. In the introduction, the authors, two out of three have had financial involvement with Monsanto’s Posilac®, state, “To achieve an economically and environmentally sustainable food supply, agriculturalists need to identify systems and practices that make the best use of available resources and minimize the potential environmental impact (Capper et al., 2008).” Well the Capper et al, 2008 is the so-called rbST study.

Then, on the fifth page, “This improvement in productive efficiency facilitates the dilution of maintenance effect, by which the total resource cost per unit of milk is reduced (Bauman et al., 1985).” Dale Bauman, of Cornell University was a/the lead researcher in the development of rbST. The 1985 reference was about rbST as witnessed by, “A recent longterm study involving treatment with recombinant or pituitary bGH for 188 d has demonstrated that the increases in milk yield persist without any evidence of stress or health effects (D. E. Bauman, P. J. Eppard, M. J. DeGeeter and G. M. Lanza, unpublished data).”

So, I will stand by seeing the two spins as academic Siamese twins joined by intention. The intention is obvious. Of course, I may just be silly.

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