In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Antibiotics in Factory Farmed Animals

Why eat less meat?

There's a bumper sticker I see around occasionally, which reads

PETA People for the Eating of Tasty Animals

(For my German relatives, let me spell out that PETA originally stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which is the most vocal Animal Rights Advocacy group in the US.)

Besides Animal Rights issues (and despite how tasty meat can be), there are good reasons to eat less of them, and to me one of the main argument is that it's wasteful to raise meat -- both in the sense that productive land that could be used to raise vegetables, but also that it's inefficient to grow grains and corn for the purpose of feeding to livestock... But there is further trouble!

A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that in the United States, 70 percent of antibiotics are used to feed healthy livestock, with 14 percent more used to treat sick livestock. Only about 16 percent are used to treat humans and their pets, the study found.

More antibiotics are fed to livestock in North Carolina alone than are given to humans in the entire United States, according to the peer-reviewed Medical Clinics of North America. It concluded that antibiotics in livestock feed were “a major component” in the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Kristof concludes his piece quoting a former president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr. Martin J. Blaser, as agreeing that agricultural use of antibiotics produces cheaper meat. But he says the price may be an enormous toll in human health.

“You could have very lethal pandemics,” he said. “We’re brewing some perfect storms.”

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