The Problem in US Livestock and Farms
In 1923, Alexander Fleming looked at a small sample of fungus and with his idea; he was able to change not only the world of medicine, but also the world, as humanity knew it at the time. With the invention of penicillin, infections could be cured and controlled and countless lives could be saved. Before his time, a small cut could lead to a fatal infection. So with his discovery our lives would be rapidly changed for the better. Yet with this pinnacle of medical science we have also unleashed a monster onto society, which we are struggling to control.
Countless lives were lost to infection during the First World War. With the discovery of antibiotics it is believed that the lives of countless more wounded soldier’s were saved during the Second World War. Society believed we had found a wonder drug to save lives, but today the consequences of our actions are truly coming to light in horrific ways. In the mid 1950s, US scientists came to an amazing conclusion that livestock would grow much larger and much faster with the use of antibiotics. It became a common practice for farmers to add antibiotics into animal feed very quickly and for many years they were able to easily rake in additional profits from the quickly grown stock. Today it is estimated that 80% or more of all US production of antibiotics goes into livestock production.
The question then rises of why this is an issue. You would think that more antibiotics promote better health, but it can truly be the complete opposite. Think about how your doctor prescribes you antibiotics for an infection. The doctor will give you something like 20 pills, and you must take 2 pills per day for 10 days and you must take all of the pills. This is closely controlled because firstly the goals of treating infection are to eliminate the infection in the host so efficiently that it does not have the ability to produce a colony of resistant bacteria. If you do not take all of the pills then there is a chance that some bacteria may survive and become resistant to that strain of antibiotic, making it harder to treat. This holds true from treatment of any living organism, including livestock.
In the US, the implementation of antibiotics into livestock feed is greatly uncontrolled. There is no set level of allowed antibiotics per animal and no direct regulation on how these drugs are to be distributed into the livestock population. Studies today are showing that there has been an alarming increase of resistant bacteria in livestock. Some of these cases have been marked as incurable, leading to culling to stop the spread of infection. Even though this is alarming enough, many of these infections can spread from the livestock to humans via consumption. Many scientific groups are attributing an increase of MRSA and other resistant strains of infections to the resistant strains found in livestock. Though it is almost impossible to get direct access to the animals, the scientists use meat in the store and compare strains found in meat to those found my doctors from human patients. Is there really a direct correlation? Maybe. Allot more work must be done to really answer that question, but a sense of caution would be recommended.
Please do not misunderstand this blog, as we are not trying to frighten anyone. We are simply trying to make you ask some questions for yourself. Perhaps we are at a time in society where we must apply some serious changes to how we farm our food. The further we change livestock and farms to apply to rising demand, the more we must question whether these actions will bring us the greater good or utter damnation. Remember, we are the ones who choose what is being created in our world. Every time you go to the store and buy meat made with antibiotics you will be helping fund these farm practices. We must not only change our way in the halls of the capitol in Washington, but we must remember our choices in the store will implement greater changes to the market than congress can ever enact. So buy organic and strive for wild caught! Live long, live healthy, and live smarter. Be the change you wish to see in the world!
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