One public health issue that truly frightens me is that we are raising Billions of animals each year, and giving them low dose antibiotics in their feed. This has been shown to be the source of some super bugs, that are antibiotic resistant. The industry does this, since the animals are raised in such close filthy quarters, that the fatality rate from disease would be too high, without antibiotics as part of the feed. WE ARE NUTS! To get cheaper chicken, we are trying to breed the next flesh eating super bug.
In a NEJM article, after the earth quake, they discussed the protocol for administering antibiotics to people with cholera. The milder cases were not recommended to get antibiotics, due to the danger of making antibiotic resistant cholera mutations. Antibiotic resistance is a genuine serious concern, unless it means paying more for chicken, of course.
Scientific American ran an article, explaining that Denmark has stopped this practice of antibiotic in the feed, and actually increased productivity. And Denmark is a major pork exporter.
Many bills have been introduced in the legislature, to prohibit the practice, but the powerful special interests have defeated the bills. As a life long Republican (until the last election), I am ashamed of how the Republicans act.
Here's what I think about stopping antibiotics in farm animals--they darn well better come up with ways to raise healthy animals without antibiotics. I have visions of the passage of the bill to prohibit the use of antibiotics and the animals still living in crowded filthy conditions.
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