I heard this clause from my teacher one week ago:

Chicken are grown in half a year until eaten in Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, for instance, [probably in other parts of Europe, too]. How do you imagine this to happen so fast? - - Growth hormones are used to grow them fast. This affects your endocrine system and can replace its natural function. We cannot even know the withdrawal symptoms when you stop eating food of growth hormones. - - Eat pork instead. No growth hormones used in their life cycle because not needed and not so useful in practice.

I started to think what. Can this really be true that the effect of growth hormones is big economically on poultry but not on pork so it is not used. The size of chicken is small compared to pork so they have different muscular structure. So probably more musculature in chicken and bigger effect therefore. Why does growth hormones have bigger growth effect on chicken?

Is it true that growth hormones are used more in the growth of chicken than pork in Western countries?

I do not understand the critique presented against poultry industry here, in favour of pork industry. Probably, there is some truth too.

  • $\begingroup$ Their conclusion relies on 1) chickens being fed more growth hormones, 2) that growth hormone leaves some sort of chemical trace in the meat we eat, 3) we absorb those trace chemicals, 4) those chemicals are bad for us - this is of course irrelevant to the question but if I were you I'd be asking the teacher for some evidence, there's too much of this sort of thing based on myths and hearsay. $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Dec 11, 2014 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @GriffinEvo Yes, I know that there is much myths and hearsay about this. I want evidence based thinking. The main argument is that chicken meat growth needs GH, but pork not, therefore GH is used in chicken. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2014 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


Poultry raised for meat in the US (called broilers) reach butchering size in 5 to 8 weeks (compared to 10 weeks for half the size 40 years ago. It's not a GH miracle; it's a result of generations of selective breeding (as cows have undergone for unhealthy udder size).

GH use is illegal in the US and many other countries. Honestly, it's an unnecessary additive/expense.

I raised poultry for more than a decade, mostly chickens and ducks (but almost everything else as well). Once I bought 25 1-day-old broiler chicks (early broilers were a Plymouth Rock X Cornish) alongside my usual mix. Within 2 weeks the broilers were at least 3 or 4 times the size of the other chicks, and more than a couple of them died (under ideal conditions - all free-range outside, cooped only at night). By 10 weeks, they were enormous.

They were also dumber than a bag of hammers, unfortunately. I felt so sorry for them that I let them live out their natural lives, which wasn't terribly long, partly because of their docile stupidity.

Growth hormone is unnecessary in the poultry industry.

Murray McMurray Hatchery: Jumbo Cornish X Rocks
Modern Meat Chicken Industry

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your excellent answer with indepth knowledge in the area! I will discuss this issue with my teacher more detail what he meant. Is there anything else used in the growth which may be more harmful for people, in contrast to pork -industry? I cannot think anything. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2014 at 12:12

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