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Agricultural antibiotic use predicted to rise 67 percent, fueling a drug-resistant superbug epidemic

Meat industry

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(NaturalNews) The global meat industry is booming as more and more of the population can afford to consume mass quantities of meat. The demand keeps increasing and the "fatted calf" keeps growing thanks to many industrial livestock producers pumping our meat sources full of antibiotics to keep up with the staggering market. The end result is creating a mess for all of us and could quickly become a life and death situation according to a newly released study conducted at Princeton University.

According to the report in the next 15 years antibiotic use in animals is expected to skyrocket globally by 67 percent.

Many developing countries are injecting livestock so full of antibiotics that they are dangerously increasing the risk of developing drug-resistant super bugs. The four main countries responsible for the estimated increases according to the Princeton study are China, Brazil, India and Russia. The paper cautioned everyone to consider the dangerous ramifications that this increased use of antibiotics in our animals may create. This could cause a scenario where common infections turn quickly fatal as they no longer respond to the drugs which have worked in the past.

Changing diets and increasing demand

Consumption of meat, milk and eggs is growing at an amazing rate in many developing and even middle income countries. These food producers now rely on antibiotics to prevent or treat diseases in the short-term, reports Tim Robinson, a scientist with the International Livestock Research Institute. He went on to explain how the continuous use of low doses of antibiotics on livestock makes for the "perfect conditions to grow resistant bacteria".

E. coli and salmonella are already showing resistance to antibiotics, stirring up the public fears that these currently treatable diseases will soon pose a real threat to humans. These diseases can be easily passed from animals to people due to food contamination or direct contact. Researchers have conducted an extensive assessment of antibiotic use in food animals around the world. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings of this assessment were placed on a global map showing antibiotic use in livestock in 228 countries.

A population that will likely be most affected will be those people in very poor areas whose livestock are essential to their survival. These individuals do not have access to antibiotics and therefore will certainly not be able to afford the newer more costly drugs that will be required when even the less expensive and more readily available antibiotics won't work.

In the US, antibiotic consumption in animals accounts for up to 80 percent of antibiotic sales.

Timothy Robinson, co-author of the study, revealed that chicken and pigs are easier to raise, in less time and with very little space and that raising cattle was much more challenging. He felt that the antibiotic use increase is expected to be mainly driven by chicken and pork not cattle.

"When it comes to Europe, we have quite strict legislation on antimicrobial use. In the U. S., things are a bit looser. In India and China and Russia, it's one thing producing the legislation and it's another thing enforcing it," Robinson said.

Legal action needed

The CDC estimates two million Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections each year, resulting in at least 23,000 deaths, and a report last year from the World Health Organization warned that "far from being an apocalyptic fantasy," an era of modern health care without antibiotics "is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century." Even so, the FDA has done next to nothing to effectively fight the problem. (takepart.com)

Four U.S. senators are pushing legislation that would at least help the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Sens. Dianne Feinstein from California and Susan Collins from Maine, introduced the bill Monday, which was cosponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y. and Elizabeth Warren, Mass. If passed, the legislation would require the FDA to actively regulate the use of these drugs and end the use of antibiotics and dosages that violate the agency's standards.

Sign the Petition to help this bill.






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