An AP article headlined Pressure Rises to Stop Antibiotics in Agriculture made the front page today that will help to educate consumers about the type of factory-farm meat they are eating. With the heavy use of antibiotics, the chickens, pigs and cows develop dangerous organisms in and on their infection-suppressed carcasses and end up on the dinner plate. This has long known been a reason for creation of superbugs and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria , but it is good to see this information is going more mainstream; and, all the more reason to eat naturally raised beef, chickens, pork and other meats.
The article does not cover the hazards of genetically-engineered feed or cloned animals, but ironically the story is from show-me-state town of Frankenstein, Missouri. Here are some excerpts:
Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has led to a plague of drug-resistant infections that killed more than 65,000 people in the U.S. last year — more than prostate and breast cancer combined. And in a nation that used about 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent of the drugs went to pigs, chickens and cows. Worldwide, it’s 50 percent.
America’s farmers give their pigs, cows and chickens about 8 percent more antibiotics each year, usually to heal lung, skin or blood infections. However, 13 percent of the antibiotics administered on farms last year were fed to healthy animals to make them grow faster. Antibiotics also save as much as 30 percent in feed costs among young swine, although the savings fade as pigs get older, according to a new USDA study.
However, these animals can develop germs that are immune to the antibiotics. The germs then rub into scratches on farmworkers’ arms, causing oozing infections. They blow into neighboring communities in dust clouds, run off into lakes and rivers during heavy rains, and are sliced into roasts, chops and hocks and sent to our dinner tables.
When shopping for a whole chicken at the supermarket, look for the ones that have a gray-green-bluish spot or growth on the leg or under the wing. They are hard to find– because these are normally cut out at the factory or the chickens are used for pieces or nuggets.
The Journal had brought to you earlier this year one of the most likely sources and origins of the swine flu virus—on a Mexican factory hog farm that butchers a million hogs a year—in our story Factory Farms: An Origin of Swine Flu and Other Diseases and Illnesses. (There is much more than odors emanating from these operations—along with the hydrogen sulfide and ammonia-like substances are dust particles carrying neurotoxins and microbiological hazards as the long list of studies here show.) Another Journal article referenced a study that shows infant deaths to increase significantly in counties where CAFOs (factory farms) are concentrated.
See the AP article Pressure rises to stop antibiotics in agriculture
Apparently this is the “safe, local and humane” food production facilities the industry needs to protect. With the infinite wisdom of the various food safety agencies, they could remedy the situation with the use of more and newer antibiotics and with a dose of irradiation to make the meat less hazardous yet.
For a national directory of naturally raised, grass-fed and pastured meats, see http://eatwild.com — Augie