Antibiotics and Animals

Monday, March 16, 2009

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Bob Martin of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming talk about the link between overuse of antibiotics in farm animals and the rise of drug-resistant infections in people.


Nicholas Kristof and Bob Martin

Comments [28]

robin from Red Bank NJ

Many great comments!

The term "farm" animal conjures up a pastorial scene. I think what is being talked about here is "feed" animals, animals grown specifically for their meat for quick slaughter, in "feedlots" largely by agrabusiness - for pure profit.

We need the FDA to get honest - as the agency responsible for overseeing our HEALTH!

To quote the addage "You are what you eat", Look at what our health care costs are a year!

Mar. 16 2009 03:32 PM
Gabriele from Manhattan

Just because animals get antibiotics doesn't ensure that the meat is free of germs.
Imagine you had a toddler leashed for years in a "excrement encrusted playpin". It can't move - so the animal's organs can't function normally,their cells are deprived of oxygen and nutritients. What breeders don't think about - just because more food gets absorbed when the gut has been "put to sleep with antibiotics" -that animals blood becomes so infested with the unhealthy gut flora and travels into all cells. That's the meat you buy.

Also antibiotics can only be designed to kill a few bugs maximum. so all the bug soup the animal stands and lies in gets absorbed thru the skin and lungs into their blood. Breeders are very good to keep the public stupid.

But you are payinga high price by consuming meat that is a bug/toxin bomb to your system. Just because a bug is killed by antibiotics doesn't make the meat safe. The toxins of the bugs are what create other diseases in you.

Just don't expect a regular doc to verify that for you. If there is no money for tests and pharma - then they will just dismiss it.

Most of us are too removed from caring for the earth. Most NYCers don't have a clue that truely fresh chicken breast shouldn't smell nor have the slightest hue of yellow orange).
Or that carrots with black or dandruff look are full of mycotoxins.

It takes a certain amount of self love to become committed to self care. Healthy food is as basic as clean air and water. But many still want the government to regulate food safety. Well just like anything else-it hasn't worked. If you need to get informed and involved.

Ever heard of the study of african american and hispanic girls who ate a lot of "regular chicken ( with hormones and antibiotics) they started menstgruating at age 8.

Mar. 16 2009 03:20 PM
lauren Horwitz from nyc

Thank you for announcing the HBO screening of DEATH ON A FACTORY FARM tonight, albeit at the very end of the show. The other side of this story of course is the impact of antibiotics and massive factory farming on the 'other' animals affected, those enslaved in the 'farm' warehouses and the miserable, painful, short lives they lead. Everyone who supports agribusiness by eating meat has a responsibility to watch this HBO show.

Mar. 16 2009 11:48 AM
Gabriele from Manhattan

The reason antibiotics are used in raising ainimals - because their living conditions are the breeding ground for disease. Breeders are greedy. Imagine they are stuck in a small cage, sitting in their excrement for days, under fluorescent lights and never see the day light or pastures = that's our hygiene standards for producing meat. On top of that cattle is fed corn and soy ( rich in protein which they are not born to digest ). Their change in diet, inability to move around, creates brittle bones.
cows often fall over.
even organic cows are raised with corn. so regular grass fed beef is way healthier. Breeders are greedy and will take every shortcut in the book to make more profit.

ONly what we humans pay for is - all the bacterii that were killed off in the animal with antibiotics - are still in the meat as toxins. In us the toxins then lay the ground
for disease. It's long known that bacterii and virii mutate- even overnight - toxins only speed up the process.

Mar. 16 2009 11:36 AM
Amy from Manhattan

In the mid-'90s, I proofread parts of _Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics_--basically, about how drugs work. The section on antibiotics was pretty scary, calling the increasing level of resistance to drugs "a very serious development that threatens the end of the antibiotic era" & attributing it in large part to misuse of these drugs. The effect of antibiotic use in livestock has been known for >10 years. Why has it taken so long to get anything done about it? Does it have to do w/the influence of agribusiness on the USDA?

Mar. 16 2009 11:28 AM
Broccoli Tom from The Garden

Just stay off the meat, peeps.

Mar. 16 2009 11:28 AM
jane from hudson vallley

We were in New Haven last week to view the Darwin Show at the Art Museum. While driving around the block I noticed MRSA (?SP?) signs on the garbage cans. Advising people to WASH HANDS. I had never noticed this before.

Mar. 16 2009 11:25 AM
anonyme from ny

There are people, scientists, who are very knowledgeable of the food chain and lobby on our behalf who consider out food system genocidal. Think about it

Mar. 16 2009 11:25 AM
gino from noho

Everyone should watch Dan Barber's Fois Gras parable. Its on Ted talks.

This proves that treating our animals properly only insures our health and theirs. Not to mention it makes for delicious food. Blue Hill is a testament to it.

Mar. 16 2009 11:24 AM
sophie from manhattan

Antibiotics in animals affecting humans when we consume them? No kidding. Just like we treat the symptom not the cause in this country, so we seem to do with our livestock.

Having an animal die or get sick without these drugs, seems like there's something wrong with the system.

Mar. 16 2009 11:23 AM
Chuck Renaud from Brooklyn

it's also just gross. If these animals are so puss filled they need constant antibiotics it's just terrible.

Agribusiness needs and overhaul and to find a soul. They are destroying our world.

Mar. 16 2009 11:22 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Science magazine did report a case of a man who was eating chickens who had been treated with hormones, and he developed breasts (gynecomastia).

The hormone pellets were injected in the chicken necks, and he was eating chicken necks.

Mar. 16 2009 11:22 AM
anonyme from ny

We have the power to top buying this crap food and agrabusiness will learn to do a better job - Argentina has healthy large scale livestock farming - organic beef on pasture. Seek out local food. If it costs more, think about how much less you pay at the doctor's office.

Mar. 16 2009 11:22 AM

Why not keep the animals in sanitary conditions in the first place so there is no need for systematic use of antibiotics for the animals? Target the problem rather than the symptoms. It cannot be impossible because people farmed successfully long before antibiotics became prevalent, and I think we'd all enjoy the meat more knowing it hadn't been swimming in its own fecal matter.

Mar. 16 2009 11:22 AM
Mark from Manhattan Chinatown

What about the pharmaceutical industry? Have they joined the farms in lobbying against the kind of legislation you've been discussing?

Mar. 16 2009 11:21 AM
Adelia from Brooklyn

Why can't the government push these companies to develop less crowded and more sanitary and humane practices? Animals shouldn't spend their lives standing in their own excrement. These companies are using anti-biotics as a crutch for cruel and unhealthy practices.

Mar. 16 2009 11:21 AM
Caroline Bjorling from staten Island NY

When I started developing allergies to antibiotics in Dr. prescriptions, I read it could be caused by antibiotics in meat. I gave up meat, and haven't had a problem since. Go figure.

Mar. 16 2009 11:15 AM
Caroline Bjorling from staten Island NY

When I started developing allergies to antibiotics in Dr. prescriptions, I read it could be caused by antibiotics in meat. I gave up meat, and haven't had a problem since. Go figure.

Mar. 16 2009 11:15 AM
Norman from Manhattan

If the DNA markers in the bacteria from the animals are the same as the bacteria in the human patients, that would be enough proof for most scientists that the infection came from the animals.

Mar. 16 2009 11:15 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

On a side note, this is a perfect example of evolution at work. These bacterias adapt to their environment. But then again, with some many people (including in Congress) believing in ID, what can you expect?

Mar. 16 2009 11:12 AM
Norman from Manhattan

There was at least one case of a person in a farm community who died after getting infected with an antibiotic-resistant infection that was traced by DNA fingerprinting to a feedlot. I read it in Science several years ago.

I'm sure there are lots of published reports like that by now.

Mar. 16 2009 11:12 AM
Karen from Manhattan

We eat no canned foods other than canned tuna, sardines and salmon from Alaska, ordered via the internet and, in the winter, imported canned tomatoes. All our vegetables are from a CSA, the organic food store, or our backyard garden. We buy Amish chickens and fresh fish (careful which ones -- some farmed fish are fed hormone-laced feed).

Eating this way is expensive. We cut other expenses -- take our lunch to work, don't eat out, generally economize -- to eat well, because eating well is a health issue. As for red meat: my husband and son very occasionally buy and grill steaks, but my view is that all the meat that is not grass-fed is unreliable, and I avoid it.

You've frequently had Michael Pollan on as your guest; I'm with Michael all the way.

Mar. 16 2009 11:06 AM

You might ask Nicholas Kristof to briefly comment on Mamdani's views on Darfur.

Mar. 16 2009 11:04 AM
jennifer from manhattan

I have never forgotten that a toddler died during the tainted spinach outbreak a few years ago when his mom put a few leaves of spinach in his smoothie. I have never heard definitively the cause of the outbreak--my friends who live in California claim it was caused by migrant workers relieving themselves in the fields. Pro-organic groups claim it was caused by runoff from nearby feedlots containing cattle that were given antibiotics and their insides produced anti-biotic resistant strains of e.coli.

Why is it so difficult to hold those responsible accountable following these incidents?

Mar. 16 2009 10:57 AM

Do your guests have any information on the addition (with government approval) of arsenic to chicken feed and the very high levels of arsenic found in chicken?

Mar. 16 2009 10:51 AM
Todd from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Kudos to Kristof for Sunday's column. Food safety issues demand more media attention.

Case in point, a story about the president's plan to "overhaul food safety" was relegated to page 24 in yesterday's paper. The story notes that only 7,000 of some 150,000 domestic food processing plants underwent inspections last year. That's front page fodder from where I sit (which just so happens to be at the dinner table).

Meanwhile, the paper did a sprawling write-up about the Obama administration's plan to revamp the healthcare system. As Michael Pollan points out in his new book, In Defense of Food, healthcare and food are undeniably linked.

We can do something about our health before doctor visits and trips to the hospital. It begins with food. Tighter restrictions on those that provide us with food would be one step toward improving national health.

Mar. 16 2009 10:45 AM

A food chain story linked not to a "recall" -- but about an overall systemic problem.

Long live the difference between reporting and journalism.

Mar. 16 2009 09:49 AM
Charisse from NJ

Will Codex Alimentarius Commission have total control over having all live stock world wide treated with antibiotics and hormones as well as phasing out truly organic foods or making it difficult to obtain? What about labels? Not all Aspartame products are labeled as such

Also is it not true that he who controls the food can control the world?

Mar. 16 2009 08:52 AM

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