Our Bodies under Attack

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.

Sheila Velazquez lives and writes in Northwest Massachusetts. Her work is informed by decades of experience with unions, agriculture, public health, politics and her support of populism. She welcomes contact by email: simplelifestyle101@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Sheila.

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  1. bozh said on March 9th, 2010 at 10:22am #

    Well, i have been educating my wife for a decade to buy less meat. But to no avail. She buys to much meat. After some of the delicatessen meats are in freezer for six mo’s, i give it to my crows.
    Wld u believe that they won’t eat all cuts? Only some! tnx

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on March 9th, 2010 at 10:44am #

    Just another example of how innately evil market capitalism really is. Just like peddling cigarettes long after they knew they killed one in four of their customers,and still doing it in the poor world, or flogging infant formula in the poor world,guaranteeing the deaths of babies from ingestion of polluted water, or spreading asbestos far and wide, or any other of a million evil, vicious practises. Capitalists are psychopaths, and market capitalism is the system they created to benefit their particular spiritual and moral disease. For the capitalist other people are enemies, or, at best, competition, to be destroyed by any tactics conceivable,as scruples do not come into capitalist calculation. As a system that rewards the worst, most unprincipled behaviour, and that deals ruthlessly with ‘losers’ market capitalism has a peculiarly malignant ability to lead humanity downwards,morally and ethically, in a sort of negative evolution,the survival of the shittiest. This collapse of morality and decency is nowhere more starkly evident than in the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems.Any thing that cannot be exploited or developed into money is of no interest to capitalists. Therefore they not only have no conception of the common good or common wealth, but are actively hostile to it.Inevitably this leads to the destruction of all natural systems and their conversion into money,usually in the form of lines in a computer account. In the place of natural systems, evolved over millions of years, the capitalist places in their stead oceans of pollution and toxic waste, slowly poisoning everything,including us.In fact so widespread is the destruction wrought by capitalist avarice, that ecological collapse is occurring and accelerating right at this moment. All inflicted not to raise humanity up, but to further enrich that infinitely greedy, psychopathic elite who rule the planet.

  3. kalidas said on March 9th, 2010 at 11:01am #

    Bozh, I too feed the crows and all the rest and don’t you know they never lie to me.