Thursday, March 15, 2012

Overuse Of Antibiotics In Agriculture Leads To Disease Outbreaks

Last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Center for a Livable Future presented a panel of experts to plead their case to House and Senate staffers.
Their plea?

Stop allowing subtheraputic antibiotic use in agriculture…the science is clear…it’s making people sick!

Many conventional farms feed continuous low doses of antibiotics to their animals to “promote animal growth and prevent disease.” Meaning, it’s not just when the animal is sick.  No, these animals get antibiotics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Among the many problems with this practice is the fact that the overuse of antibiotics is causing various strains of bacteria─including some commonly infecting people─to become resistant to these antibiotics. As a result, therapeutic doses of antibiotics are no longer working on people when they are needed most.

True, I’m not a big proponent of antibiotic use in most cases, but if Doctors are going to prescribe them as a medical treatment, let’s be sure they actually work on people when needed, rather than nullifying their effects to line the pockets of Big Ag.
What I find most disturbing about this whole debate is that─as with most conventional medicine debates─it does not address the heart of the matter. In this research by OMAFRA, there is a hidden nugget of truth that gets overlooked regarding the efficacy of feeding animals antibiotics.  The findings conclude:

The amount of improvement (in growth) is dependent on a variety of factors, including feed composition, management practices and the health status of the animals. The greatest benefit is seen when these factors are not optimal. When these factors are optimal, no benefit is seen with the use of antibiotics to improve growth.

In other words, raising animals in more optimal conditions nullifies the need for subtheraputic doses of antibiotics. Imagine that…raise them in a healthy environment and they will grow just fine.