Cover image for Science and social context : the regulation of recombinant bovine growth hormone in North America
Science and social context : the regulation of recombinant bovine growth hormone in North America
Mills, Lisa Nicole, 1967-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 207 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Corporate Subject:

Format :


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SF98.S65 M55 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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She examines the decision-making processes at Monsanto that led to their making the drug available and discusses corporate, academic, and regulatory decision-making in the context of a restructured global political economy for agriculture. Mills shows that there was consensus about the scientific evidence but interpretation of that evidence differed depending on the context from which it was viewed. Scientists who analysed it for regulatory bodies interpreted it differently than scientists in corporate or academic institutions, and scientists in Canada and Europe interpreted it differently than those in the United States. In the United States it was assumed that any problems arising from its use could be taken care of within the existing dairy system; in Canada and Europe these problems were regarded as legitimate animal welfare issues. While all regulatory bodies agreed that human health problems were unlikely, in Canada the Health Protection Branch questioned this, but ultimately rejected the drug on animal health grounds.

Author Notes

Lisa Nicole Mills is assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mills (Carleton Univ.) has converted her doctoral thesis into a valuable reading assignment for courses in science and public policy. It is the case history of Monsanto's milk production-enhancing creation, the first major drug product in agricultural biotechnology as dealt with by the two pertinent regulatory agencies of Canada and the United States. Both have ruled differently on the product, indicating that drug approval may go in any direction depending on the interpretation of the facts at hand. The growth hormone was rejected in Canada but not in the US. The author traces its 20-year history and chronicles the worldwide debate of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH, also known as rbST, recombinant bovine somatotropin). More importantly, she provides a generalizable analysis of how regulatory bodies may arrive at decisions about product safety. It is an extremely complex process, in this case involving agricultural, corporate, scientific, and global political/economic facets, and in particular, issues of human risk and animal health. Mills illustrates that arrival at a consensus in matters that hinge on risks and benefits is a daunting task. As with any such complex issues, reversals of interpretations and decisions may subsequently occur. In any case, heated discussions, driven by the various interest groups, will undoubtedly continue. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. M. Kroger emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Chronologyp. ix
Acronymsp. xiii
1 Overviewp. 3
2 The Economic Context: The Political Economy of Agricultural Biotechnologyp. 17
3 The Political Context in the United Statesp. 53
4 The Political Context in Canadap. 77
5 The Scientific Debatep. 103
Conclusionp. 143
Notesp. 161
Bibliographyp. 173
Indexp. 205