Using hormonal growth promotants in cattle
Hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) are small implants given in the ear that slowly dissolve to release hormone into the bloodstream. They contain an inert marker that makes them easier to find.
Cattle HGPs contain either:
- female hormones (such as oestradiol and progesterone)
- male hormones (such as testosterone and trenbolone acetate)
- a combination of both.
Combination implants containing trenbolone acetate are known as 'aggressive' implants, as they generally further increase growth rate and feed efficiency and delay fattening. Aggressive implants and repeat usage have been shown to reduce tenderness and marbling, and increase dark cutting.
When using HGPs, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions or check with produce agents for best-practice techniques.
Registered HGP products
Any veterinary chemical product containing a substance that is responsible for oestrogenic, androgenic or gestagenic activity to enhance growth or production in bovines is regarded as an HGP. HGPs may be natural or synthetic.
For more information on individual registered HGP products, visit the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) website.
HGPs and meat safety
Meat from HGP-treated cattle is safe to eat. The hormones in the beef are natural and are at much lower levels than in many other commonly consumed foods.
The following articles have more information about HGPs and meat safety:
- Sustained growth promotion, carcass and meat quality of steers slaughtered at three live weights (PDF, 216KB)
- A review to update Australia's position on the human safety of residues of hormone growth promotants (HGPs) used in cattle (PDF, 635KB)
- What are hormone growth promotants (HGPs) and does Australia use them?