Widespread use of antibiotics in farm animals is a health hazard

OpposingViews.com published an editorial piece Monday written by Sean Joshua, who reports the widespread use antibiotics in farm animals has become a health hazard for consumers. And the practice speaks volumes about the treatment of the animals.

Joshua notes antibiotics are given to far too many farm animals – even healthy animals – waiting to go to slaughter. This is done because they are stuffed into tight quarters on factory farms, where the more going to slaughter, the more profit.

This comes at a time, the writer states, when we’ve “been warned to curb back on use of antibiotics on ourselves to prevent antibiotic resistance in ourselves.”

We can’t go so far as to state this is done across the board on all factory farms across the country. But it is important news that should be a bigger story in the national media.

But it is about profit, isn’t it? If some people get sick or animals suffer each and every day in severe confinement … well … these atrocities seem to always take a back seat – way back there – to let profit ride shotgun.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by D Gary Grady on July 28, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    A few additional points worth emphasizing:

    The main reason farm animals are given antibiotics is not to treat or protect from disease but rather to cause them to grow faster so they can be slaughtered sooner and consequently at less expense. (Last I heard, exactly why antibiotics speed growth is unclear.)

    Pharmaceutical companies sell farm antibiotics for a small fraction of what human patients pay, even though the antibiotics in question are essentially the same and there’s very little difference in the cost of manufacture.

    Even if you don’t never eat meat from animals given antibiotics, the practice still endangers you. Disease organisms eventually become resistant to overused antibiotics, and that includes antibiotics used in animals. Antibiotics should be reserved for cases of genuine need.


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