Vegan Health ArticlesAntibiotic Overuse in Animal Feed
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From Anai Rhoads Ford

25 January 2005

antibiotic - A new study to be released in the 15 February issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases confirms a connection between the anti-biotics given to livestock and the resistant food borne illnesses found in humans.

The study focused on non-resistant Salmonella and Salmonella typhimurium cases, where potentially lethal infections were seen in those infected by the bacteria. Such infections of the bloodstream can lead to meningitis, sepsis (multiple organ failure and shock) and possible death.

"This study shows that resistant bacteria not only result in harder to treat infections, but also make people sicker in the first place" said Margaret Mellon, J.D., Ph.D., director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Added to the many other studies linking antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture to human health problems, this study underscores the urgent need to reduce the massive overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture in order to protect human health."

Today, industrialised operations in the United States routinely feed swine, poultry, and beef cattle the same antibiotics that doctors give to human patients. A staggering 13 million pounds of medicine, such as penicillin and sulpha drugs, are used in animal feed annually - not to treat illness and disease in the livestock, but to promote growth and to prevent complications due to overcrowding.

"This study gives Congress yet another compelling reason to pass bipartisan legislation to phase out the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine as animal feed additives," said David Wallinga, M.D., a physician with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. "Phase-out legislation introduced last session was endorsed by the American Medical Association and over 100 other medical groups."

Salmonella is currently the leading bacterial cause of food poisoning and is responsible for 1.4 million food poisoning cases and an estimated 500 deaths annually.

2005 Anai Rhoads Ford. Reproduction must be authorised in writing by author only. Altering, redistributing, or selling this material is strictly prohibited.

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