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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Antibiotic Overuse



One thing many Holistic Moms agree on is that our healthcare culture is quick to prescribe antibiotics for a wide variety of illnesses, even when their use is not warranted. Even the American Academy on Pediatrics (AAP) has backed off the use of antibiotics for such childhood ailments as ear infections, acknowledging that "concerns about the rising rates of antibacterial resistance and the growing costs of antibacterial prescriptions have focused the attention of the medical community and the general public on the need for judicious use of antibacterial agents."


Surprisingly, however, 80% of all antibiotics sold for use in the Unites States are used on animals, not on humans. In fact, most antibiotics are used in commercial farming as a result of overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. While many consumers are concerned about humane treatment in agriculture and seek out local farms for their own purchases, the overuse of antibiotics in commercial agriculture is something we all need to be aware of, even if you don't consume animal products. Why? Because "bacteria resistant to antibiotics used in animals will also be resistant to antibiotics used in humans." What does that mean? That means that as these antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread, many diseases may become difficult - if not impossible - to treat.


Agricultural antibiotics impact all of us. Consuming undercooked meat contaminated by antibiotic resistant bacteria or touching raw meat juices is just one way we come in contact with this issue. But animals carrying these superbugs also shed them in their feces or milk, their byproducts may wind up as fertilizer for other crops, or runoff from factory farms can seep into our drinking water. Even airborne antibiotic resistant bacteria have been detected.


Citizens Against Superbugs, a grassroots campaign spearheaded by Applegate Farms and STOP Foodborne Illness, is calling on the President to end the overuse of antibiotics on animals. You can sign the petition and lend a hand to this effort by clicking here. Help support these efforts and make a difference!

1 comment:

  1. Great article -- I wasn't even aware of the antibiotics being used in animals.

    ReplyDelete

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