Thursday, March 3, 2011

Factory Farms Are Raising Superbugs

This isn't exactly news--animals rights activists have been been making as much noise about it as their few voices can muster--but it doesn't seem to get enough traction in the media, so I'm adding my voice to the clamor:

Whether you eat meat and dairy products or not, whether you care about animal welfare or not, surely even the most callous, self-serving creep should be very alarmed at this one statistic alone: 80% of ALL the antibiotics in the U.S. are administered to farm animals. If that doesn't trigger a "WTF?" moment, then consider that (insanely!) factory farms are not giving livestock these antibiotics therapeutically, to cure any disease; they're doing it to prevent the animals from getting sick from the disgusting conditions they're raised in, and from the inappropriate diet they're fed.

Still not alarmed? Well, consider that this massive antibiotic overdosing is spurring the evolution of superbugs--antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect, sicken, and kill humans. In an article posted yesterday on The Huffington Post Laurie David lays it out in terrifying detail: "...every year more than 90 thousand Americans die from bacterial infections that have developed a resistance to antibiotics." That's roughly the equivalent of thirty 9/11 attacks per year, perpetrated not by foreigners who hate us, but by greedy, sociopathic Americans who couldn't care less about us, or about the billions of creatures they churn through their brutally cruel systems just to fatten their wallets.

Again, whether you like to eat animals (and their body fluids) or not, this is an epidemic of holocaust proportions in the making. And it's not just about antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The unnatural confinement of animals in disgustingly filthy, overcrowded conditions has also been cited as the cause of animal-to-human virus epidemics, like swine and avian flu. The contamination in recent years of vegetables like spinach and tomatoes with e. coli and salmonella turned out to be caused by runoff from factory farms--literally animal sewage that no authority seems willing or able to stop.

Consider, for one last example, the remarkable parallel between the damage to wildlife caused by the BP oil spill, and the gigantic "dead zone" surrounding the Mississippi delta, where pollutants including pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers have made life impossible--poisons without which the corn that feeds these farms would never be plentiful or cheap enough.

I could go on, but surely even the most uncaring person in the world would see a red flag waving by now. Forget the plight of animals, if you just want your Big Mac, your bucket of legs, or whatever your favorite fast flesh item might be. But can we really afford to continue turning a blind eye to the damage this horrific agricultural system is causing to the environment we live in, and to us personally--whether we participate in the eating of animal products or not?  

1 comment:

  1. Hey Alan! Found your blog!! Love it. I'm adding it to my blogroll now.