CFIA-Approved Factory Pharming

As though there weren’t enough misery in the lives of Canada’s farmed animals, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has just approved two more drugged feeds for rapid weight gain in farmed animals: Engain 20 and Actogain 100. The active drug in Engain and Actogain is ractopamine, a beta-agonist that has been banned in over 160 countries as a suspected carcinogen.

Manufactured by Zoetis, Engain and Actogain join Paylean 20 and Optaflexx 100, manufactured by competing drug company Elanco. You may recall that their sister feed, Zilmax, which also uses a beta-agonist, was recently tied to hoof loss in cattle.

Author and veterinarian Dr. Michael W. Fox has described the drug’s effects on pigs as “the cruelest thing to do to the pig’s psyche – or to any creature’s state of mind and sense of well-being. This drug destabilizes the pig’s physiological and psychological homeostasis and subjective sense of well-being, evident in their heightened, chronic states of irritability, agitation, flightiness, and aggressiveness.”

Indeed, this trauma is even listed on the feed’s label: “Pigs fed ractopamine hydrochloride may be at increased risk for exhibiting the fatigued or downer pig syndrome.” For turkeys, the label indicates: “Feeding ractopamine hydrochloride to tom turkeys during periods of excessive heat can result in increased mortality.”

A feed that causes animals to lose their hooves, makes them unable to stand up, and kills them? That’s A-OK with the CFIA.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be part of the suffering of these animals. By choosing a plant-based diet you can help end the cycle of violence. To learn more about moving to a meat-free diet, go to