Thank You, Antibiotics, for Cheap Meat…and Superbugs

Jun, 23, 2017

By Fredrica Syren:

In a world where consumers want more for less money, it’s no wonder that businesses and producers feel that the way to make more money is by taking short cuts. The meat, egg, chicken and fish industries are no different: in their quest to produce more volume at a faster rate, businesses rely on the regular misuse of hormones and antibiotics.

The animals also live in very small and unsanitary areas, causing disease outbreaks. To prevent this and to keep slaughter animals alive long enough to combat disease, the animals are regularly fed low doses of antibiotics. All these medications cause great damage to our ecosystem and to our bodies. So, when we demand cheap food, we also allow these practices to continue. Our environment and these animals pay the price for our cheap food. In the U.S alone, for example, 80% of all antibiotics produced are used on healthy animals raised for food to make them grow faster and as a precaution against the spread of diseases due to the unsanitary industrial farms.

The misuse of antibiotics in meat comes with a heavy price — dangerous superbugs resistant to antibiotics used by humans. Sadly, antibiotic resistant infections kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year. Antibiotic contaminated meats such as chicken, turkey, farmed fish and seafood, pork, beef and lamb put our children and ourselves at risk. It’s estimated that about 50,000 die each year in the U.S. due to antibiotic resistant infections. We’re now facing a future when antibiotics no longer will be as effective, so routine procedures like C-sections, hip replacements or any other surgeries will come with a huge risk of antibiotic resistant infections. A new British study warns that unless we get the antibiotics misuse under control by 2050, 10 million people a year might die because of resistance to antibiotics. What once was considered a miracle drug has gotten a bad reputation because of its misuse in agriculture.

It’s a very sad truth that cheap food does come with a heavy price; you just might not know about it. We can’t keep expecting our food to get cheaper and cheaper when everything else is becoming more expensive.

Here is a link to a trailer for the documentary Resistance, which covers the antibiotic resistance issue. I highly recommend that you watch it and learn more about why agricultural misuse of antibiotics is so harmful.


Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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