Is Eating Meat Putting Your Life at Risk?Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF Founder and General Counsel on April 2, 2013
If, like most Americans, you and your loved ones eat meat as a regular part of your diet, you should consider the following: an astounding eighty (80%) of all antibiotics sold in this country is fed to farmed animals. That’s because the standard practice in raising farmed animals today is to house them in crowded and unsanitary factory-like facilities. Adding antibiotics to their feed or water helps prevent infections and sickness that occur when the animals are raised in these substandard conditions. It also helps promote faster growth.
This mass use of antibiotics in animal feed is enabling bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics. In other words, the continuing overuse of antibiotics for farmed animals is creating "superbugs" that don’t respond to the antibiotics that doctors normally employ to treat pneumonia, strep throat, and other infections.
A new study, published last week in EMBO Molecular Medicine confirms that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, specifically methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been transmitted from livestock to human beings. Responding to this public health risk, Rep. Louise Slaughter (the only microbiologist in the U.S. Congress) is demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration take immediate action to reduce the use of antibiotics fed to livestock. Please read what she has to say.
Here’s what you can do:
- Become an informed consumer–learn more about factory farming and what is in the meat you eat.
- Oppose the mass use of antibiotics in farmed animal feed. Support Rep. Slaughter’s efforts.
- Ask your Senator or Congress member to introduce federal legislation that offers basic health and welfare protections to animals raised for food. The European Union is way ahead of the U.S. on these common sense reforms and has adapted the "Five Freedoms," which include:
- "Freedom from Hunger and Thirst–by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- "Freedom from Discomfort–by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- "Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease–by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- "Freedom to Express Normal Behavior–by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animals’ own kind.
- "Freedom from Fear and Distress–by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering."
- Support "Pasture Based" farming. Thousands of farmers in the U.S. are returning to the tradition of raising animals in the field and allowing them to eat grass and move around freely. A smart pasture operation (SPO) is a growing phenomenon in the U.S. SPOs don’t require the mass use of antibiotics because the animals are not under the terrible stress that they are in factory facilities.
- Join the movement toward Meatless Mondays–find out just how great vegetarian and vegan options are.
- Go vegan: good for you, good for the cow, and good for the chicken! You can find thousands of delicious recipes on the web.