Saturday, January 2, 2010

There's Germs in that there Pig

I recently read an article that some of you must have seen as well (someone forwarded it to me!) which regarded the use of antibiotics in animals.

I remember writing about this in the past and thought that there was a low banning the use of antibiotics in healthy animals, but that is not true. This leads me to believe that it maybe true in other countries and or that it was proposed as a law here, but didn’t pass.

It has been said for sometime that there is a growing amount of resistance to antibiotics – worldwide. One reason is our own overuse of them and another is the use of them in animals. What I hadn’t realized was that the animals can pass on more than a resistance to drugs; they can pass on the infections themselves. The most usual course would be direct from animal to handler, a scratch or cut around the barn would do it. I learned in the article that the germs also affect the general environment through the animal waste and how germs are spread in our soil, water and air.

I should NOT have been surprised to find that the farmers you like to use antibiotics have a great deal of lobbying support from pharmaceutical companies. So as some of our congressmen propose bans, at the very least, bans on giving medicine to animals that are not sick, the drug companies are spending over 100 million dollars to convince other congressmen to oppose the limits.

I do not know why this is, and am unable to do a lot of Internet work just now to find out, but farmers claim that the antibiotics make the animals grown faster and bigger. They claim that the use of antibiotics saves them money and thus saves the consumer money. Still, as one farmer interviewed in the AP story learned, NOT using all those meds can also save them 1000s of dollars.

The world did just fine, not perfect, but okay, raising these animals without antibiotics for centuries and you know, ironically, we didn’t have an obesity epidemic then either.


The Conscious Life said...

Yes, I've heard similar accounts too. Apparently, antibiotics are given to livestock to make them faster and bigger. And we humans are the one that end up ingesting antibiotics inadvertently by eating these livestock. The amount may be little, but if you eat meat of livestock everyday, it's possible for antibiotics to accumulate in the body to a level that's enough to cause concern.

So besides healthy animals, healthy humans are also taking antibiotics.

Deirdre Dingman, MPH, CTTS, CHES, PAPHS said...

right, and just because i can't resist saying it - if one eats meat every day they may have more to worry about than this - ie colon cancer!