If you don't want to end up bald or gay, don't eat chicken, says Bolivian President Evo Morales. Speaking at an environmental conference this week in Cochabamba, Bolivia, (officially titled theWorld People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth) Morales told attendees in an inaugural address that chicken producers inject female hormones into the fowl, "and because of that, men who consume them have problems being men."
Thousands at the conference reportedly laughed -- perhaps nervously -- when Morales made the statements. He also said hormone-injected chicken causes young girls' breasts to grow prematurely, according to Noticias 24.
The Associated Press notes that most Western countries ban hormone injections in chicken, but Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, also went on to diagnose the practice as the cause of male baldness. "Baldness, which seems normal, is a sickness in Europe," he said. "Almost everyone is bald. And that's because of what they eat."
The Bolivian president pointed to his own shock of thick black hair as proof. No sign of baldness on his head, Morales said.
A gay-rights advocacy group in Spain sent a letter of protest in response to Morales' statements to Bolivia's embassy in Madrid, but otherwise, reaction on the international level has been somewhat muted.
The Cochabamba conference ended Thursday with accords calling for industrialized nations to "change the system of capitalism that is imposed upon us."
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: Bolivian President Evo Morales. Credit: EFE; Noticias 24