What sounds like a parent’s nightmare could soon be reality.
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As a parent, you don’t allow your child access to the medicine or detergent cupboard in case he or she swallows harmful doses. By feeding our children meat and dairy products from the meat industry we are slowly but surely making our children unhealthy in many ways, and this topic is not even about “civilization illnesses” related to the industrialization of food and the meat industry. No, the subject here is how a simple scratch on the knee, which these days definitely should not be a cause for worry and concern, might revert to having fatal consequences. This was literally the case up until my mother was a child — people died of simple infections, fact. Today, if you have a cut, you disinfect it and put a plaster on it and keep it clean. If it happens to get infected — well, then there’s antibiotics … and what is the relation here to eating meat?
Antibiotics are used in the food industry and given to the animals which we (well maybe you, not I) eat. Unfortunately this system of feeding livestock antibiotics could very well end up being fatal for us humans, both directly and indirectly.
The meat industry is the biggest consumer of antibiotics globally!
70 billion animals are slaughtered yearly. Antibiotics are administered to these 70 billion animals on a regular basis — each year. Every time antibiotics are used bacteria can and do develop a resistance to the antibiotics. These resistant bacteria are called superbugs. This simply means that if we continue this large scale misuse of antibiotics for – meat, antibiotics won’t always be able to help us anymore in the near future, even for the smallest of infections because we are creating resistent bacteria (superbugs) and have no antibiotics to fight them. Simple. Wouldn’t this possibility be enough reason for you to choose not to eat meat and definitely adding meat to the list of “possible dangers” to you and your family?
There are 7 billion people on earth — only one tenth the amount of livestock animals. Because so many humans believe that they need to eat a total of 70 billion animals each year, well … that’s a lot of antibiotics needed … for meat?! Using antibiotics on this large scale definitely supports the chance for bacteria becoming resistant. Even if you don’t support the meat industry and you are already vegan, vegetarian or plant based then you are still consuming these antibiotics used in the meat industry indirectly. All these antibiotics (for 70 billion animals) end up in our drinking water; our rivers, lakes, groundwater — basically in the fresh water which we drink. And from the entire water on the planet, less than 2% is safe for us to consume. From that 2%, less than 1% is easily accessible. And we are contaminating this precious water as well! I don’t know about you, but just that thought would make that piece of meat stick in my throat. What’s the use of 70 billion livestock animals when we die of thirst after dying of a simple infection?
Read more: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/earths-fresh-water/
Not quite a hundred years has passed since the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Flemming in 1928. The introduction of penicillin and the use of antibiotics to the public wasn’t until after the 1940’s during the second world war. That which was used to help, treat and cure humans is now being produced in order to be given to 70 billion animals — each year. Does that not unsettle you? In the space of less than 50 years the meat industry has become the main user of antibiotics. So, basically the meat industry is now using our life saving miraculous drug to make profitable meat. But it’s so tasty you say? Sorry, that definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth! Pun intended!
When we run out of effective antibiotics, medicine will revert back to before the second world war.
This is a true story — “On February 12, 1941, a 43-year old policeman, Albert Alexander, became the first recipient of the Oxford penicillin. He had scratched the side of his mouth while pruning roses, and had developed a life-threatening infection with huge abscesses affecting his eyes, face, and lungs. Penicillin was injected and within days he made a remarkable recovery. But supplies of the drug ran out and he died a few days later.” Read more: American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks. Discovery and Development of Penicillin.
Maintaining good hygiene and keeping clean is a good practice, but in this case not the solution. Antibiotics are used regularly in hospitals before surgery to reduce infection. Each time you bring home a piece of meat you are bringing home a bacteria colony with it. We just need one resistent bacteria with no antibiotics to fight it and the bacteria wins — no matter how clean you are. One does not need to be a scientist or a professor to know these facts. Every normal person like you and like me who live on this planet can make the choice to inform themselves. The information is there. If each and every one of us really
want to know what we are eating and the affect our food choices can have if they are the wrong choices. The information is there. On the internet, in books and documentaries. How much harm and damage do we want to inflict on ourselves, our health, our children’s health and on our planet’s health. Not to mention the 70 billion animals that are killed yearly. (Yes, I have mentioned this horrifying number often, in the hopes that it may stick).
Below is some information which I have put together from “The Meat Atlas” published by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Friends of the Earth Europe. And as always, my interest is to share this vital information with as many people as possible. So please, share this with your family, your friends and with as many people as possible. Thank you.
Facts and Figures about the animals we eat.
The World Health Organisation. (WHO) warns that if we continue our reckless use and abuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, we could enter a post-antibiotics era in which health conditions that are now easily curable will again become lethal.
In spite of this, few countries have addressed the use of antibiotics in livestock raising. Antibiotics are used to ensure that the animals endure the conditions in factory farms until slaughter. A large part, however, is also used to increase ans speed growth. Pigs that are given antibiotics. for example, need 10-15 % less feed to reach their market weight.
Although the European Union prohibited antibiotics to promote growth in 2006, this did not lead to a significant decrease in their use on farms. Systematic inquiries have recently revealed that 8,500 tonnes of antimicrobial ingredients were distributed in 25 European countries in 2011. Germany has the highest (overall) consumption at 1,6000 tonnes a year. In other parts of the world, the use of these valuable drugs is subject to hardly any regulations or restrictions whatsoever. In China, it is estimated that more than 100,000 tones of antibiotics are fed to livestock every year – mostly unmonitored. In the United States, livestock production consumed 13,000 tonnes of antibiotics in 2009 and accounts for nearly 80% of all the antibiotics used in the country!
Bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics which are vital for treating humans
Industrial farming has intensified at a rapid pace during the past decades and antibiotics have been one of the main driving forces behind this process. They perform two functions: they help animals survive the dismal conditions until slaughter and they make the animals grow faster.
According to WHO, more antibiotics are now being fed to healthy animals rather than to sick human beings.
Image: Heinrich Böll Stiftung | Meat Atlas 2014
The diagram above shows antibiotic resistance and type of meat in Germany alone.
Livestock is usually given the same antibiotics as humans. Every time an antibiotic is administered, there is a chance that bacteria develop resistance to it. “Superbugs” – pathogens such as Escherichia coli, salmonella or campylobacter that can infect humans as well – are resistent to several different antibiotics and are therefore particularly difficult to treat.
The imprudent use of antibiotics in livestock worsens the resistance problem. They are usually administered to whole herds of animals in the feed or water. Resistant bacteria can pass from animals to humans in many ways. An obvious link is the FOOD CHAIN. When animals are slaughtered and processed in an abattoir, the bacteria can colonize the meat and be carried into consumers’ kitchens.
Due to trade and transport superbugs become globetrotters, endangering the health of everyone
The production of animals and meat is globally connected with trade and transport links spanning the globe. These links enable resistant bacteria to spread rapidly. Superbugs are, in the words of the WHO, “notorious globetrotters”. The imprudent use of antibiotics in one part of the world thus poses a threat not only to the local human population, but endangers the health of people in other parts of the world as well.
But that is not the only way humans can be exposed to such superbugs. Resistant bacteria can be blown several hundred meters by exhaust fans of livestock houses. The bacteria are abundant in manure, which is spread on fields as fertilizer. Once in the soil, the bacteria can be washed into rivers and lakes. Bacteria interact both on farms and in the environment. They develop further and reproduce, exchanging genetic information. In doing so, they enlarge the pool of bacteria that is resistant to once-powerful antibiotics.
Make the right choices — at the supermarket, ordering dinner, adding ingredients to your pizza or giving your child a snack. Try and make the connection and make the right choices.