fetal calf serum

Warren Gallin wgallin at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Thu Mar 9 16:06:53 EST 2000

    Beef primarily comes from both female cows (usually heifers, unbred
young females) and male cows that were castrated at an early age to
prevent the meat from getting gamey (steers).  These cattle come from
specific breeds that are not useful for milk production, but rather are
bred for fast gain of muscle mass and appropriate ratios of fat and
muscle.  Old bulls and milk cows past their primer produce a decidedly
inferior grade of meat; they are slaughtered for thinks like sausages,
canned meat and other processed products.

    Depending on the market for beef, farmers will send pregnant cattle
to slaughter, either if prices are really high and expected to drop, in
which case they want to take their profit and not incur the risk of
having calves that will cost more to feed than they will bring in a
future market, or if prices are low and expected to stay that way, in
which case they want to get rid of cattle that will not bring a profit.

    As far as I know, all fetal calf serum is collected from fetal
calves at slaughter.  The main reason for price fluctuation in fetal
calf serum is that the availability fluctuates wildly with the market
price of beef.

    There, how's that for practical biology?

Wolfgang Schechinger wrote:

> Hello Richard!
> I was told this story by a sales rep from a company I don't rember
> exactly wich one after having asked him where the stuff came from.
> Here in Germany, this probably wouldn't be possible (if it is legal
> at all) since cows are homed in a stable and the farmer knows
> about their sex life (because he has paid for an artificial
> insemination). And he wouldn't dare to sacrifice a pregnant cow since
> he is interested in the calf. When cows are kept in mixed herds (are
> they?) this could be different.
> Anyway, I thought that not only bulls and oxes are the source of
> cattle meat (what's the fate of all these exhausted milk cows? Do
> they all go into dog and cat food cans?)
> Could somebody more familiar with this topic please contribute
> her/his knowledge in order enlighten me and us? I'm really interested
> in this topic. Is it possible that calves are especially
> produced for generating FCS?
> Wolfgang


> > In article <200003091701.SAA05948 at intwww.zit.med.uni-tuebingen.de>,
> > Wolfgang.Schechinger at med.uni-tuebingen.de ("Wolfgang Schechinger")
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Another aspect is that it's probably easier to get serum from
> > > fetal calves than from newborn ones since fetal calves are to my
> > > knowledge a "by product" when pregnant cows are slaughtered in
> > > order to get access to their meat.
> >
> > really?   I didn't think cows - pregnant or otherwise - were
> > slaughtered for meat (except post milk-productive ones).
> >
> > Bulls, yes, cows, no.  I would guess that the high price of FCS
> > reflects that it's a primary product rather than a sideline.  But
> > what do I know, eh?  :)
> >
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