Agri-Health / Animal Production / Emerging Diseases / Food Safety / Human Health / ILRI / Intensification / Livestock Systems / Pigs / Poultry

Misuse of antibiotics and ‘factory farming’ of animals: Alarm bells sound

'The Spoonful of Milk', by Marc Chagall (via Wikipaintings)

‘The Spoonful of Milk’ by Marc Chagall, 1912 (via WikiPaintings).

‘. . . It is estimated that about 70% of the world’s antibiotics are fed to farm animals: the precise amount used in agriculture is poorly recorded. But what seems sure — as the number of intensively farmed animals grows — is that their use increases too, particularly in the most intensive sectors: poultry and pigs. Even in countries where the routine feeding of antibiotics is banned (as in the EU) spot checks show considerable misuse.

If we are concerned about the over-use of antibiotics in human medicine then alarm bells should sound louder still when it comes to their use in intensive farming.

‘In factory farms infections spread fast. . . .

’65 billion animals are reared world-wide every year, a number that is predicted to reach 120 billion by 2050. As production increases so does the number of hitherto unknown infectious diseases.

In Asia, according to the International Livestock Research Institute, a new disease emerges every four months: the main causes are the increase in intensive livestock production and poor biosecurity. Animals — dead or alive — are obvious vectors. But manure, transporters, slaughterhouses, slaughterhouse waste, wild animals and employees are also potential carriers of infection.

‘. . . [A]s the bulk use of antibiotics encourages resistant bacteria to thrive, intensive farming practices become ever more deadly. Outbreaks of new strains of disease seem a certainty. The prospect of a pandemic that reaches global proportions seems more a question of when rather than if. And then the eruption of disease of global proportions will surely do what the animal welfare activists cannot: put an end to factory farming.’

Read the whole article at the Huffington Post: Will antibiotic resistance put an end to factory farming? A case for the vegan option continued, 15 Mar 2013.

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