Bracing For Antibiotic ResistanceWritten by Lillian Tram on February 8th, 2013
Big news on the farm around the country is the issues with antibiotic usage – and now resistance to antibiotics by diseases – by pig farmers all around the country. While pig farmers have been feeding antibiotics to their pigs for years now, just in the last few years the United States and the FDA have come down with some pretty stringent guidelines on antibiotics in animals and for animal food.
Antibiotics, after all, make the pigs ward off disease when they are young and vulnerable, and allow farmers to see to it that they have a clean crop each year and a good set of pigs from which to choose. Plus, antibiotics help the older pigs grow faster on less feed, accounting for more profits and a better profit margin than what had been previously used decades before.
Big farming and big agriculture have taken over, and while the idyllic small American farm is long gone, there are other things at play here, too. Antibiotics have long been questioned as being not only unsustainable when it comes to pork and food production, but also downright dangerous for both the pigs in question, and the humans who consume them in ever greater numbers.
It hasn’t appeared like it has yet paid off, though the guidelines are but one or two years old, but the question is a big one: even humans become resistant to antibiotics as their bodies and immune systems (and specifically, the viruses and illnesses in question) learn how to fight and resist the antibiotics.
So for the pork producers out there, the exact same thing has been happening to pork, and pigs all around the country. And it has larger root problems, too; the CDC has uncovered studies and evidence that suggest the more antibiotics are used in our pork production, the more resistant human bodies come to antibiotics and to fighting diseases. That’s not good!
Food, Inc. and other major movies have come out recently, all decrying the corporate and capitalistic food industry, but while they target working conditions and more, the antibiotic issue isn’t as widespread as some maybe think it should be.
What do you think, though? Are antibiotics in your food a major issue? When you consider how these pigs are used and slaughtered for the profit margins and mass production manufacturing, do you think twice before consuming them, or is it just business as usual and pleasure from eating tasty pork?