Healthy Living
 
Dr. Shiv Chopra: Concerned Scientist and Activist for Food Safety      
Caring viewers, this week’s edition of Healthy Living features an interview with renowned Indo-Canadian scientist, author and activist Dr. Shiv Chopra, who has worked for decades to promote food safety, public health and human rights around the world.

Dr. Chopra and his colleagues challenged a series of efforts to approve harmful chemicals intended for use in the meat and dairy industries. For example, in the 1990s he testified at Canadian Senate hearings and won court cases against the use of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) and other harmful drugs. Through his efforts BGH was banned in Canada in 1999 and subsequently in the European Union.

Dr. Chopra has also opposed the use of antibiotics in intensive animal agriculture, and revealed the true causes of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease.” A native of India, Dr. Chopra has lived in Canada since 1960 and is the author of numerous publications on science, society and religion, including his international bestselling book “Corrupt to the Core” on public food safety.

His academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from Punjab Veterinary College in India and a Ph.D. in microbiology from McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Chopra has also received numerous academic honors, including a World Health Organization Fellowship.

Now let’s learn about how Dr. Chopra’s interest in effecting change evolved.

I was born in India, I grew up there, I studied there. I became a veterinarian in India. Then I took a postgraduate diploma in vaccine production. I worked there for two, three years, and then I came to Canada to do a Masters and PhD in microbiology. It was on industrial farming of pigs. I worked another year as a post-doctoral fellow. After that I was director of biological research at Miles Laboratories. And that’s where I started to become quite disillusioned with the profession that I had joined.

Dr. Chopra’s disillusionment with traditional ways of doing science grew while he worked in the pharmaceutical field and after he became a government official.

Originally, it was thought going into science was going to do good to society, you’ll have a respectable profession. And that’s how I got into science, but once I joined the pharmaceutical company, I saw the pressures, that they were not really doing research, and I was head of research. So I felt this way I’ll always be a student, I will never be productive, I mean that was my job to be productive, being head of research. So I gave up there and a job came along to work at Health Canada.

While working for Canada’s national health service, he began to realize that many commonly used vaccines were actually harmful to human health.

During your employment at Health Canada, you were asked to study the toxicity of different molecules used in the meat and dairy industry. Can you give us a few examples of the ones you studied and what they are?

Actually there is a period of 20 years before that, at Health Canada. Originally I started as a vaccine expert. A number of vaccines like mumps and rubella I was opposed to, but there was nothing I could do at that time, because I didn’t have any proof that they would do harm or they would be ineffective. Now I’ve been proven to be right.

And it was still in that area I became a fellow of the World Health Organization, traveling, which took me all over the world. I studied the regulatory system of vaccines. And only after coming back from there, some years later I moved over to my original profession, the veterinary side.

Dr. Chopra’s veterinary background then came into play as he began to see the links between the chemicals administered to industrially farmed animals and human diseases.

That’s when I got to be working on the human safety of drugs or products which are given to food-producing animals, in the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, that’s where those drugs came, and they had to be looked at from the point of view of human safety. In other words, if a drug is given to the animals, then we have to make sure that nothing goes wrong.

First of all, are there any residues left of the product given to food-producing animals, could it be in their milk, could it be in their meat, could it be in the eggs. Alternatively there were other issues; if you are giving products which residue may not be a problem, is there another way that may harm not just individual, but public health, like through antibiotics resistance.

And then later other products will come up which were not even drugs. It became fashionable in Europe and Canada to feed slaughterhouse waste back to producing animals, to chickens and pigs and cows and back to each other and that caused a serious problem. It was also from that same period, the idea of genetic modification of seeds and animals to stimulate extra food production, other drugs like hormones were given to animals for similar purposes.

And whatever issues there are, they have to be studied by the companies wanting to sell those products. And if there were any problems, the companies will be told that we’re not satisfied, because the law says that the company that sells any product in Canada that directly or indirectly gets into the human food chain, or directly into the human body through water, environment, whichever, has to be proven to be safe under the Food and Drugs Act.

However, despite the apparent safety provided by this legislation, hormones and other harmful substances that directly affect human health were approved for use in the meat and dairy industries.

Then as time went they start to take sex hormones, both male and female, make a concoction of them synthetic and natural, and they started to inject them into cows. Actually not just inject, they used to implant them behind the ears, large pellets and they would remain for the rest of the life of the cattle.

And that’s the beef that people eat to this day, so that hormone remains behind there and when the animal is slaughtered, the ear is cut off and that ear is then boiled to make gelatin and that gelatin with concentrated hormones sitting there now goes into making capsules. It goes into gel, into yogurt, into ice cream, candy, and this children are eating on a regular basis.

What hormones do is they cause cancer and endocrine disruption. So puberty is affected and you cannot determine the lowest level or the maximum level of something that causes cancer. One molecule attached to a cell can induce cancer so you cannot determine the maximum residue limit.

The second product that we’re looking at in a very big way is antibiotics. Antibiotics you can determine the residue but the concern there is only allergic reaction in patients who may be allergic, that is not a very big concern. But there’s a bigger concern when you give antibiotics to every animal for life.

Those antibiotics, once it’s passed through the intestinal tract of the animal, which is full of trillions of bacteria of various kinds, and as the antibiotic will kill off the good bacteria it may leave some pathogenic bacteria. Seventy-five percent of the antibiotic use is in farm animals.

Dr. Chopra sees a number of other threats to public health that are a result of a dysfunctional industrialized global food system. Pesticides are one of them.

And they are now beginning to ban many pesticides. Sweden has just banned 80 pesticides, 80. There are hundreds of pesticides. And usually the Scandinavian countries take the lead on this and so they’re doing very well. When you slaughter an animal only half the animal is meat; the rest is discarded. Now what do you do with this? Because there’re such huge slaughterhouses they don’t want to waste anything.

They take the fat and so on, they process that and that goes into soap or cream and then all kind of things. But the rest of the protein they boil it up, they dry it, and then they feed it back to the animals. And that sets up what’s called bovine spongiform disease or mad cow disease, which then is transmitted to people and called CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) and kills people.

That was another item and we have pesticides, we have hormones, we have antibiotics, we have slaughterhouse waste and of course the genetically modified organisms, GMOs. There was a huge uproar in Spain, 15,000 people demonstrating because Spain is allowing the use of GMOs. So there is now this issue within the countries, in India the GMOs have become a huge issue.

Dr. Chopra believes that informing the younger generation that growing organic foods, free of pesticides and other unnatural substances, is essential to creating a healthy future for our planet.

Agriculture must be introduced in every school as a compulsory subject with all children growing food in the schoolyards, in their villages, and PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations) should be involved. If everybody wants to go green, the municipalities are collecting green garbage. Well, they can make compost, they can deliver it to schools, one or two football fields can be converted to gardens. And parents and children and grandchildren and everybody should be working together.

You have a happier society. You have a healthier society. We’d be spending much less on treating disease because the disease will not occur. I gave up eating meat for various reasons. First of all, it’s healthier to be vegetarian. Secondly, it’s healthier for the environment. It’s good for the climate. Much of the climate change is due to industrial agriculture. All that can be taken care of if you only grow food in our schoolyard and community gardens.

Dr. Shiv Chopra, we thank you for your enlightening comments on food safety and human health. May you have continued success in informing the public and governments around the world about the vital need to end industrial agriculture and the benefits of community grown organic crops.

For more details on Dr. Chopra, please visit www.ShivChopra.com
His book “Corrupt to the Core” is available at www.KosPublishing.com
DVDs by Dr. Chopra are available at www.MediaReel.net/Chopra

Gracious viewers, thank you for your presence today on our program. Coming up next is Science and Spirituality, after Noteworthy News. May humanity quickly adopt the healthy, organic vegan lifestyle.

  Try It! Raw Food Living with Sergei Boutenko and Marina Gladkikh 
 Terry Singeltary, Sr. on the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Public Health Crisis 

 
  
 
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