Let's Clean Up Our Farms


Country MoonLet’s talk turkey or beef, or pork, chicken or almost any kind of meat that is grown these days with the injection of antibiotics to promote faster growth. It has become a vicious circle: Industrial farmers are using antibiotics as a cheap and easy way to produce more in a shorter period of time to break the profit margin. By so doing, they are putting consumers at greater risk for developing infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

This practice has been around since the 1950s when it was discovered that antibiotics not only cured infections in livestock and kept them healthy to go to market, but the drugs also promoted faster growth. There were no known side effects at that time and the faster turn-around time meant higher meat production, which meant lower prices. It seemed it was a win-win situation for everyone.

Antibiotic prescriptions for humans were also on the rise, mainly because the drugs were touted as a cure-all for many ills and because the drugs work so well – or used to. These two practices combined created the mess we have today.

MRSA is only one of a list of staph bacteria that is resistant to most common antibiotics. It is becoming a common word and no longer is it isolated to hospitals, nursing homes and other health settings.

The shocking news is MRSA alone causes 11,000 deaths in the United States alone and 2 million people contract other infections that are resistant to antibiotics with 23,000 of those dying as a result.*

We may not all be farmers but we are all consumers. We all need to have a say in how to “clean up the farm.” In 2011, antibiotic manufacturers sold 29.9 million pounds of drugs for use on industrial farms, four times the amount used to treat sick people and the highest amount ever reported. Let’s face it, most all the meat we consume comes from mass production. Hardly anyone butchers their own or buys from the small farmer around the corner anymore.

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