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View Diary: Meat industry now consumes four-fifth of all antibiotics (90 comments)

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  •  The reason that animals (2+ / 0-)
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    Powered Grace, the fan man

    consume more antibiotics is because there are lots more animals than humans (cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, etc).  
    Take the picture of the cattle at the feed bunk in the picture at MJ (linked in the diary). Those are dairy cows that average 1200-1500 lbs each, equal to 6 humans, for example.
    There are almost 800 million chickens slaughtered every year in the US, along with about 110 million hogs and 34 million head of cattle. Kind of puts the issue in perspective.
    I also have a problem right off the bat with the Mother Jones article (no surprise there). Here's the offending paragraph:

    Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication.
    The "latest data" linked to in the article doesn't go to a report about "churning out meat rife with antibiotic resistant pathogens", but to a report of the approved drugs used in animal health and the amounts used.
    I have no problems with objecting to overuse of antibiotics in food animals, but why don't we also address the overuse of antibiotics in humans?
    "Superbugs" are not just for science fiction anymore. In American communities, large and small, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are ravaging hospitals and killing thousands of patients every year. These "supergerms" are gradually replacing the typical antibiotic-sensitive bacteria in the hospital, making it more likely that this problem will become increasingly prevalent.

    Sadly, the American health care system is largely responsible for this looming epidemic. Between physicians and pharmaceutical companies, new antibiotics are constantly incorporated into patient therapy. Because these more powerful and potent medications can attack a wider array of bacteria, there is a widespread destruction of sensitive organisms. But looming in the background are "superbugs," which are resistant to the onslaught of new therapy. These tiny germs multiply in huge numbers, filling the void left by eradication of traditional hospital-based bacteria, and they ultimately become ever more sophisticated and difficult to kill.

    The problem with the overuse of newer, more sophisticated antibiotics is not limited to treatment of hospitalized patients; rather it starts in the primary-care clinic with the treatment of minor bacterial or viral illnesses. Many physicians prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, and most frequently, they prefer the newest, most expensive therapy. These days, physicians prescribe Levaquin or Zithromycin (Z Pack) for a simple viral infection, bacterial sinusitis or bronchitis. Not only are these drugs less effective in the treatment of minor bacterial infections, but also their use leads to the greater prevalence of resistant bacteria that can lead to life-threatening infections.

    http://www.creators.com/...

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:44:53 AM PDT

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