Today is World Health Day, a day that’s probably second only to 9/11 in terms of being a grim annual observance. The big news item timed for today is the alarming decline in antibiotics effectiveness, and the emergence of “superbugs” that antibiotics are powerless to kill.
And once again, the major media is letting agribusiness of the hook when it comes to assigning blame for this situation. In fact, neither Reuters nor BBC News so much as mentioned animal agriculture as a factor when reporting some terrifying details about the rise of these superbugs.
One of the only news outlets to not give agribusiness a free pass is Belinda King’s morning radio show in Australia. In a five minute segment, she interviews Dr Stephen Tristram, a specialist in antibiotic resistance. Dr Tristam says:
I think the major reason [for the emergence of superbugs] is that we’ve overused and misused antibiotics for so long. I think you’d be amazed to understand just how much of the drug use we have is inappropriate. Probably about 1000 times more of our drugs are used on animal feed than on human afflictions.
When asked why antibiotics are so heavily used by agribusiness, Tristram responded:
The theory is that if you give antibiotics in their feed, they put on more weight and more of their weight is protein and less of it is fat, so you get better production from the animal.
There are now infections that we do see in patients that simply can’t be treated.
As always, the business model of animal agribusiness is to ignore animal suffering, while externalizing costs upon society. Link.