At least some countries are willing to step up and look at what they’re really eating. Take India, for example. It’s a country I have worked extensively in and love dearly. But researchers there recently found that 40 percent of the chickens sampled were tainted with antibiotic residue. And that’s in a largely rural country where the use of antibiotics and growth hormones for livestock is not de rigueur like it is here in the U.S. (more on that below).
And, according to a new study, the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry may very well be the reason for the growing number of Indians developing a dangerous resistance to antibiotics.
We hear about antibiotic resistance all the time—both on TV and in print news. But, does anyone in the U.S. media (save a few of us who I can probably count on one hand) ever point the finger where it should really be pointed? Directly at big agribusiness—and the sheer amount of chemicals and poisons that are carelessly flung into our food supply.
If the madness doesn’t end soon, we aren’t going to have an antibiotic left that can effectively cure bacterial illness. Got pneumonia? Good luck. Soon we will be back to the time before penicillin. (Get your wood stove and pioneer outfit ready.)
But back to the study. The researchers tested for the presence of six antibiotics widely used in poultry: oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline and doxycycline (class tetracyclines); enrofloxacin and ciprofloxacin (class fluoroquinolones) and neomycin, an aminoglycoside. You might recognize some of those names. Indeed, they’re very common antibiotics used in humans. The only ones missing are the penicillins and the cephalosporins.
So what’s the reason for all the antibiotics? Well, in case you are blissfully unaware of this, the poultry industry freely uses antibiotics as growth promoters, so that female chickens will gain weight and grow faster. And as for male chickens… Well, I don’t know if you’ve seen the clip that has been going around the Internet showing what Monsanto does to male chicks, but the sight is horrifying for anyone (not just animal-rights activists).
They literally throw them in the trash, as they have “no use” for them. (We generally eat only female chickens. And only female chickens lay eggs.) How do these people sleep at night? There has to be a special spot reserved in you-know-where for them.
Anyway, back to the study. It went on to say that large-scale misuse and overuse of antibiotics in chicken is leading to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the chicken itself. And those bacteria are then transmitted to humans through food or the environment.
Lest you wonder, Why is he only talking about India? How is this applicable in the U.S.? Well… we use more antibiotics here for animal food production than any other country in the world. And here in the U.S., more than 2 million people suffer from antibiotic resistance-related illnesses each year.
Coincidence? I think not.
With 8 billion chickens being consumed in this country each year (chicken is now America’s most popular meat), we must collectively take a stand and demand better growing conditions and cheaper access to organic chicken.
Because if we don’t, those 1.2 billion chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday may just land us all in the hospital.
SOURCE:“Antibiotics in Chicken,” Centre for Science and Environment, 7/30/14 (http://cseindia.org/userfiles/Antibiotics%20in%20Chicken%2030%20july.pdf)