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If We Want Antibiotics to Work, Consumers Have to Put Big Pressure on Factory Farms

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/15/if-we-want-antibiotics-work-consumers-have-put-big-pressure-factory-farms

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As a person very seriously trained in physics, chemistry, and the environment, I simply understand that the last always wins. Mother Nature bats last. She was around before technology and She will be around after it. (“The Planet will be fine,” quipped the Late, Great George Carlin.) She wrote the book. We fail to comprehend it at our peril. This is not a new thought on my part; I am but a pimple on those who stood on the shoulders of the greats who saw the world for what it was/is long before my time.

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Well as the global poisoning accelerates we will be left with a dying world and whether humankind survives is now highly problematic. All the excesses over the last 300 years or so will have a profound impact on Earth and all her children, human and non-human people alike. All the ‘engineered’ factory production, including meat which requires huge amounts of antibiotics and chemicals for crops, will eventually reach a breaking point and reset. The 6th Mass Extinction Event, which we’re all immersed in, will continue until the ‘reset’ occurs. A ‘punctuated equilibrium’ as Stephen J. Gould so rightly named in his epic book on evolution. We humans are the punctuation.

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As long as one eats meat, one will never REALLY know how that meat has been raised. Labeling is deceptive, and the words on the labels don’t necessarily mean what we think they mean, thanks to weak governmental regulations.
Of course, if we don’t eat meat, the problem is solved.

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As a former commodity broker and compliance officer, the “market” knows nothing. People and companies will always do whatever is cheapest to get away with. As the concept of factory farms, or confinement farming gained followers in the 80s and 90s, it became obvious to producers that even a touch of a virus could render entire product runs to lose weight, and become less marketable. Adding sub-prescription dose levels of various antibiotics and other medications(simple pain or anti-inflammatories) would allow poultry, pork, beef, and dairy to look and feel a bit healthier, and thus be more marketable. As a result, the food chain is awash in drugs and chemicals.Child and adult allergies and illnesses have become rampant. Most people today look at packaged meats in stores, and really don’t make the connection to living animals. I’m not a vegan, but having more than one generation of consumers blissfully unaware of how and where their food is produced is dangerous. Aquaculture seems like a great idea, until you learn that many tons of fish are grown in coastal areas of Asia, with no protection from sewerage runoff. The same conditions apply in “agricultural” states, where there may be frightening amounts of phosphorus(and other fertilizers), or animal poop, in the water table due to huge factory farms. Yes, “organic” food sources are cleaner and safer, but they’re also expensive. Soylent Green is going to made of poor people.

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This article, good as it is, rather evades the real issue: mandatory rather than voluntary restrictions on antibiotic use are needed. Guidelines are made to be broken, and recommended uses are avoided on a mass scale. I might point out that when mandatory restrictions were demanded under the Obama administration, the administration resisted and settled on this industry-friendly deal. It was felt that taking a firm line would cost Dem seats in the midwest and west. Tom Vilsack was Ag Secretary.

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I have an idea, Go Vegan and stop contributing to the pain and suffering of sentient animals.

Get your Proteins and Nutrients from the Plant Kingdom, your Body will love you for it, the Animals will stop being tortured and the Planet will be healthier.

A Healthy Body does not need Antibiotics.

I have not even taken an Aspirin in over 40 years, Foods eaten from nourishing Plants create a healthy immune system that becomes your Natural Antibiotics.

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The article soft-pedals a crisis and the corporate irresponsibility that’s causing it. FTA:

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the top 10 threats to global public health in 2019.

But many of the other threats are more or less manageable whereas, like climate change, the problem of multiple-resistant bacteria is out of control. From the WHO description:

… time with these drugs is running out. Antimicrobial resistance – the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi to resist these medicines – threatens to send us back to a time when we were unable to easily treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis. The inability to prevent infections could seriously compromise surgery and procedures such as chemotherapy.

In other words, we have a limited time to fix this or it’s back to 19th Century medicine and millions or billions of needless deaths.

Yet the article takes a go-slow approach that accepts that agri-business can continue to make profits by pumping animals full of antibiotics rather than spending the money to house them in healthy conditions. It’s about money & these huge corporations are making it at the expense of our future.

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Not only are cow digestive systems unable to digest grain, eating grain makes cows ill, hence any cows that are fed grain must also be fed antibiotics to enable them to do so.

Decades of the US gubmit using taxpayers’ money to pay corporate farmers to offset low grain prices thereby encouraging the production of more grain than the world can consume is not likely to end as long as corporate agriculture lobbies and strong drug lobbies thrive.

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I used to have a bunnies as pets, housebroken and all. These little buggers are not long-lived and susceptible to lots of ailments, however, most that I had were healthy. Since I had one that became very, very ill and died (broke my heart) I began to proactively treat my bunnies with a powdered antibiotic easily obtained (no prescription) at the feed store (where I bought wild bird seed in bulk). The bunnies that I gave relatively small doses of antibiotic to on a regular basis grew to be giants (one was almost 20 lbs, the vet laughed every time she saw her, “Buffy” short for buffalo). They also looked very healthy. And obviously they were not for eatin’. They were pets.

There is rhyme to the reason that factory farms, et al, use antibiotics: ill effects of overcrowding for one, etc. but the side effect of a bulkier and larger animal means more $$$ (for the supplier) at auction or the slaughterhouse.

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There is another even better way;

Imagine a world where propaganda does not squelch young people considering a future as a food producer.

Imagine a country that does not give tax breaks to corporate agriculture so it can destroy family farms and declare the corporate war against Earth to be traditional efficient agriculture even though it requires semi-slave displaced labor.

"Soylent Green is going to be made of poor people."

When exactly do you see this becoming a reality Smipypr?

“…Please don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away and after all, I’m only sleeping…”

If one raises one’s food, one will know more or less how the food was raised–or if one receives from a farmer or gardener down the road as well. If one buys from the global economy, the problem remains.

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This cannot be just a boycott or strike sort of action. In a boycott, one refuses to buy product to negotiate for different practice. Then, when the alteration is made, one buys the product again, rewarding the vendor for compliance.

In a case where the guilty party is (mostly) not an individual farmer or company so much as a broad practice extended across governments and continents and industries, the companies will at most patch the problem and pass on their public relations overhead as they might.

Furthermore, city dwellers cannot easily stop buying food, and the poor cannot begin buying food that is organic, even assuming that it is authentically so and also the practices of an organic food supplier are ethical otherwise, which has proven far from certain.

No, this has to be a permanent shift, even if that makes it a slower one. Many or most of us have to shift from being consumers to being producers, as we were in all history and prehistory up into living human memory.

This will not happen all at once, but that is all the more reason to start now. Very many people cannot make such a transition fully, but that is one reason that so many have to be involved in doing it partly.

Put a few herbs in the window or by the door. Set up a worm farm under the sink to convert your scraps to clean soil. Find a strip where you can grow sprouts or microgreens or a patch where you can raise veggies. Raise quail or ducks if the neighborhood cannot manage chickens. Put in some fruit or nut trees or bushes.

If one starts with the small things, the job is done after a bit; otherwise, it still looks like a lot to do.

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