A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that in the United States, 70 percent of antibiotics are used to feed healthy livestock, with 14 percent more used to treat sick livestock. Only about 16 percent are used to treat humans and their pets.
“More antibiotics are fed to livestock in North Carolina alone than are given to humans in the entire United States, according to the peer-reviewed Medical Clinics of North America. It concluded that antibiotics in livestock feed were ‘a major component’ in the rise of antibiotic resistance.”
This was contained in a NYT opinion column published on Sunday, March 7, wherein Nicholas Kristof notes the dangers of antibiotic use in the production of meat. The practice increases growth and protects animals from unsanitary conditions. Bottom line: grow meat more cheaply.
Kristof makes all the points and provides links.
For supporters of sustainably grown meat and vegetables, this comes as no surprise. It is why they are willing to pay the extra that it costs the small producer whose expenses, time, and effort are great in comparison. And to those people I say, “thank you.”
I wish I could give a copy of Kristof’s column to every shopper who has wavered over spending the extra that sustainable food, by necessity, costs, as well as fact sheets about pesticide and chemical use in mainstream agriculture. It has been a slow process, getting the word out. I’ve been doing it since the 1980s. Naturalist Rachel Carson and others who have inspired me were doing it in the 1960s.
But not much has changed. Every so often I hear or read another diatribe about these dangers, as though it were something new. It isn’t. If anything, the agriculture, pharma and chemical industries are even tighter, and their power grows strong, strong enough to override any attempts by congress and the presidency to clean up our food supply. Or is it?
Why is it that in this country, with all our talk of preventive this and preventive that, nothing is actually done even when dikes break, or glaciers melt, or people drop dead. We deserve better, much better.
Michelle Obama is leading a campaign against childhood obesity. I’d like to see her step up and lead another to remove antibiotics, chemicals and pesticides from their bodies, so that these same children have a better chance of growing to adulthood.