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This is a diary where the hope is that a discussion will be held or points made that shed light on the overuse of anti biotics in our food supply.


Listen to this country dumb response meant to mish mash the topic and distract -

MRSA DENIER -Hog Farmer Craig Rowles remains unconvinced.

"If there was some sort of crossover between the use of the antibiotics in animals and the antibiotics in humans, if there was in fact a real issue there, wouldn't you think we would have seen it?" said Rowles, also a veterinarian who sells 150,000 hogs a year. "That's what the science says to me."

Noone said anything about a crossover of the use of antibiotic use between humans and hogs. It's the diseases we're seeing as a result. And yes, we are SEEING IT!

"Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms generated in the guts of pigs in the Iowa countryside don't stay on the farm," said Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment director Margaret Mellon.

More than 20 percent of all human cases of a deadly drug-resistant staph infection in the Netherlands could be traced to an animal strain, according to a study published online in a CDC journal. Federal food safety studies routinely find drug resistant bacteria in beef, chicken and pork sold in supermarkets, and 20 percent of people who get salmonella have a drug resistant strain, according to the CDC.

Perhaps, the following explains why Hog Farmer Craig doesn't get it:

"Now the public doesn't see that," he said. "They're only concerned about resistance, and they don't care about economics because, 'As long as I can buy a pork chop for a buck 69 a pound, I really don't care.

Please, forgive us Craig for not wanting MRSA and well forgive you for thinking we wouldn't pay more for safer food.

More from Craig -

"But we live in a world where you have to consider economics in the decision-making process of what we do."

Why don't we talk numbers then, Hog Farmer Craig---

Overuse of antibiotics and resulting antibiotic-resistant infections are taking an estimated $20 billion toll on the U.S. pocketbook, according to a new study.

The study found the medical cost of ARIs ranged from $18,588 to $29,069 per patient, while the duration of hospital stay was extended 6.4 to 12.7 days for affected patients. The study estimated the costs incurred at the study hospital as a result of the ARIs to be between $10.7 million and $15 million.

So, farmers are likely directly responsible for 20% of about $20 billion annually in medical costs.

The Iowa Farmer

A 2009 study by Iowa State University economists estimated pork production costs in the United States could increase by as much as $6 per hog in the first year following a ban on AGPs; 10 years after a ban, the cumulative cost to the U.S. pork industry would exceed $1 billion.

So if hog farmer friendly Iowa State says $1 billion over ten years($100 million a year) I'll take their word for arguments' sake.  That's still a hell of a lot better than the $4 billion ANNUALY ($40 billion over 10 years) from MRSA & Co(ARI's) their industry contributes.

Not to mention the lives and limbs lost by innocent consumers. But, you wouldn't want to talk about that, would you Hog Farmer Craig. How foolish to think we'd ever consider paying more than a buck 69 for what you're selling. You get what you pay for and we got your two cents.

That'll do, pig.

Originally posted to WoolStreet on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 12:08 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One of the big reasons for... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stitchmd, JeffW, cdkipp, WoolStreet

    ...using antibiotics in livestock is that for some reason, they grow somewhat faster. It also "helps" to make up for the poor, unsanitary conditions in the livestock years.

    I wonder how that "economics" looks when you factor in all the costs of MRSA and losing some of our best antibiotics becaue they insist on feeding them by the bucketful to livestock to make up for poor practices?

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success."

    by QuestionAuthority on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 12:12:26 PM PST

  •  What Would the Medical Cost Be of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, RandomActsOfReason, IL JimP

    Eliminating them?  The study takes the costs of treating infections to resistant bacteria.

    If Anti-Biotics weren't keeping NON-resistent bacteria in check (unless you're claiming they aren't) what would those cost us?

    •  Treatment of non resistant bacteria should have (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stitchmd, OHdog, cdkipp

      minimal cost as they are more easily treated.

      Anti-biotic use for SICK hogs is acceptable.  Pre-emptively dumping it into their food supply is another thing.

    •  Antibiotics are used as growth promoters by (0+ / 0-)


    •  it doesn't work that way (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OHdog, cdkipp

      but you'll need to be more specific in your question.

      There are loads of problems here, but one of the biggest is that in modern corporate hog farming, there is so very little genetic variation that any germ can run rampant through a herd barn (they're stacked like chickens now, so one can hardly call them a "herd") and can be lethal to a large number. But that's not protecting humans from those organisms.

      The other problem is the overuse of antibiotics doesn't keep non-resistant bugs in check, it actually promotes the development of resistance due to a little process commonly known as "natural selection." So we're selecting for the bad bugs.

      As WoolStreet said above, no one has a problem with the appropriate use of antibiotics to fight disease. It's the indiscriminate use of "prophylactic" antibiotics that is having the paradoxically negative effect of increasing the bad organisms.

      Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without - W S Coffin

      by stitchmd on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 12:58:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  here's another response to your question: (0+ / 0-)

      generally speaking, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have no particular evolutionary advantage over non-resistant strains. as you pump antibiotics into the farm system, resistant strains will either evolve or will be imported, while non-resistant strains will be suppressed. because the resistant strains are not affected by the antibiotics, they will eventually reach "normal" population levels -- that is, eventually you'll have exactly the same "density" of bacteria as without antibiotics, it's just that they'll all be antibiotic resistant.

      this is a recipe for disaster.

      conversely, if you take the antibiotics out of the system, eventually you can expect that non-resistant strains will come to dominate the population (since there is nothing selecting for resistance, and resistance doesn't come for free, it requires the bacteria to expend resources maintaining their defenses -- sometimes, anyway -- and at the very least it requires bacteria to faithfully reproduce the necessary DNA, even though bacteria that don't will be just as successful as those that do). the result will be a system that has an equivalent number of bacteria, and thus poses an equivalent likelihood of causing a human infection. the difference is, the human will go to the doc, get a scrip, walk out the door, and be fine in 5 to 10 days.

      unless there is some other effect in play (and i'm not saying definitively that there is not), you should in the long run expect a one-for-one tradeoff in human infections from those farm bacteria, either resistant for non-resistant, or vice versa. not to mention, an ever-diminishing decrease in the benefit to the farmer for using the antibiotics, since eventually his own animals will start succumbing to resistant infections.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:29:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That $6 per hog number seems to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OHdog, JeffW, WoolStreet

    disputed elsewhere . . ..

    Denmark has stopped using antibiotics based on a strict cost-benefit analysis. "We have stopped using the antibiotics and we researched the effects. Much to our surprise, we found that there were no negative consequences, and only a theoretical small reduction in swine productivity," Wegener said.

    The researchers calculated that, after deducting the cost of the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of antibiotics used, the theoretical loss to the swine producer was at most one cent (Australian) per kilo of pork.


    Or, do swine typically weigh 600 kg?  In any event, it seems like a rather small cost to pay . .

  •  Personal effects of problem... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdkipp, WoolStreet

    A few months ago, I came down with a mild case of pneumonia.   My doctor decided because of the many resistant strains in the area to prescribe Levaquin

    This was originally to be used only after other antibiotics failed to stop the disease, but now it's approved for first line treatment.

    The side effects were severe.  And if I hadn't have read all 67 pages of the warnings, I wouldn't have known that a tingling in my legs meant possible "Irreversible central nervous system damage."

    So, yes, this is an important subject.  It can kill you, as it damn near did me....or at least it felt like it.

  •  Profoundly Important (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, cdkipp, WoolStreet

    It goes to our entire ideas of pharmaceutical use and the impact upon the environment and our lives.  And precisely how the hidden costs of risk are displaced.

    Of course as long as our only perception of quality is low cost, we are on a one-way ratchet of declining quality, of goods, and of our lives.  And, at some point, as with many consumer goods now being sold, there is no longer any choice between cost and quality.  Quality has lost out.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 12:21:54 PM PST

  •  As a rural kid myself (0+ / 0-)

    would you mind cutting this bit from an otherwise good diary.

    Listen to this country dumb response meant to mish mash the topic and distract -

    Dumb is dumb.  It ain't any better when the rural folks start talking about New York dumb.  But still, for this rural born and raised Ph.D., the dumb hick thing raises my hackles.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 12:29:13 PM PST

  •  it's pretty simple. (0+ / 0-)

    i can't get antibiotics without a prescription.

    neither should a pig.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:33:45 PM PST

  •  medical care industry ignores (0+ / 0-)

    the agri-industry dumping antibiotics in animal farm factories feed bucket every day..... explanation for drug resistance is as plain as the nose of their faces....shrug who cares can't be that it must be the little kid-patients with repeat ear infections taking antibiotics each time have created the resistant strains of antibiotics don't ya know not pig,beef,dairy,pork,chicken factory farms oh nooooooooo

    The food industry creates patients for the health care industry right now they have a kind of sympathetic relationship. - Michael Pollan

    by anyname on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:40:32 PM PST

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