Tranquilizers and antiinflammatory drugs

Drugs administered to food animals to treat acute conditions include tranquilizers and anti-inflammatory drugs (Figure 3). These medicines might be given to animals shortly before they are sent to slaughter, resulting in potentially high levels of residues that may persist in edible tissue. For example, tranquilizers, such as acepromazine, azaperone, chlorpromazine, propionlypromazine and xylazine, have been shown to reduce stress or aggressiveness during transport for certain species of pigs [13]. The b-blocker carazolol has also been used [14]. In the U.S., azaperone is approved for the control of aggressiveness in small pigs. In the European Union (EU), maximum residue limits have been set for carazolol and azaperon; the use of chlorpromazine in food animals is not allowed [13].

The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective in reducing inflammation and managing pain. Those used in veterinary medicine include flunixin, phenylbutazone, ketoprofen, aspirin, dipyrone and naproxen. In general, these drugs are only approved for pets and other non-food animals (horses). Although flunixin is approved for some therapeutic applications in cattle, there is concern that the non-approved drugs may also be administered covertly to disguise lame or sick food animals, thus allowing them to pass federal meat inspections. In 1992, a poll of nearly 1500 U.S. veterinarians revealed that over 66% of the veterinarians used dipyrone, aspirin and phenylbutazone to treat food-producing animals [15].

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