Keep rBGH-laced milk out of Canada

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Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Over twenty years ago, Canada made the wise and responsible decision to keep bovine growth hormone (rBGH) out of our dairy supply, protecting the health of cows and consumers across the country.

Now, the NAFTA 2.1 (USMCA) and CPTPP trade agreements threaten to bring imported dairy to Canadian grocery stores in unprecedented levels - and rBGH along with it.

I call on you to uphold Canada's higher standard and keep this harmful hormone out of Canada.


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Genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) was developed by agrochemical giant Monsanto to artificially increase milk production in cows.

Cows injected with rBGH, pushed to yield unnaturally large quantities of milk, suffer greater stress and higher incidences of painful udder infections, reproductive disorders, swollen legs and premature death.

Health Canada scientists have also raised concerns over rBGH passing on to humans, and that “such long-term health risks as sterility, infertility, birth defects, cancer and immunological consequences ha[ve] not been investigated.”

Twenty years ago, Council of Canadians supporters from across the country led a massive grassroots campaign that succeeded in pressuring the Canadian government to keep this harmful substance out of our cows and dairy supply. To this day, rBGH is not licensed for use in Canada.

In the U.S., however, dairy farmers are permitted to inject rBGH into their cows. And now, under NAFTA 2.1 – the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – if ratified by Canada will give unprecedented access for U.S. milk laced with this genetically engineered hormone to be sold in our grocery stores alongside rBGH-free milk from Canadian dairy farms that generations have come to know and trust.

At the same time, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the sweeping 11-nation trade agreement would force us to further open the door to milk imported from countries that, like the U.S., permit the use of rBGH.

Canada's decision not to license rBGH is just one of many of our higher safety standards that are threatened by these new trade agreements – and the Government of Canada must now stand firm in upholding it.

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The Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading grassroots social action group. For 35 years our work has remained 100 per cent independent and funded by generous donations from people like you. We do not accept corporate or government funding, and never have.

The Council of Canadians, 200-240 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X4, Tel.: 613-233-2773, 1-800-387-7177,,