Skip to content

Researcher: Extensive Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture Creating Public Health Crisis

by on December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Researcher: Extensive Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture Creating Public Health Crisis

Activist Post

Citing an overabundance in the use of antibiotics by the agriculture and aquaculture industries that poses a threat to public health, economics professor Aidan Hollis has proposed a solution in the form of user fees on the non-human use of antibiotics.
In a newly released paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Hollis and co-author Ziana Ahmed state that in the United States 80 per cent of the antibiotics in the country are consumed in agriculture and aquaculture for the purpose of increasing food production.

This flood of antibiotics released into the environment – sprayed on fruit trees and fed to the likes of livestock, poultry and salmon, among other uses – has led bacteria to evolve, Hollis writes. Mounting evidence cited in the journal shows resistant pathogens are emerging in the wake of this veritable flood of antibiotics – resulting in an increase in bacteria that is immune to available treatments.
If the problem is left unchecked, this will create a health crisis on a global scale, Hollis says.

 

Hollis suggest that the predicament could be greatly alleviated by imposing a user fee on the non-human uses of antibiotics, similar to the way in which logging companies pay stumpage fees and oil companies pay royalties.
“Modern medicine relies on antibiotics to kill off bacterial infections,” explains Hollis. “This is incredibly important. Without effective antibiotics, any surgery – even minor ones – will become extremely risky. Cancer therapies, similarly, are dependent on the availability of effective antimicrobials. Ordinary infections will kill otherwise healthy people.”

Bacteria that can effectively resist antibiotics will thrive, Hollis adds, reproducing rapidly and spreading in various ways.
“It’s not just the food we eat,” he says. “Bacteria is spread in the environment; it might wind up on a doorknob. You walk away with the bacteria on you and you share it with the next person you come into contact with. If you become infected with resistant bacteria, antibiotics won’t provide any relief.”
While the vast majority of antibiotic use has gone towards increasing productivity in agriculture, Hollis asserts that most of these applications are of “low value.”
“It’s about increasing the efficiency of food so you can reduce the amount of grain you feed the cattle,” says Hollis. “It’s about giving antibiotics to baby chicks because it reduces the likelihood that they’re going to get sick when you cram them together in unsanitary conditions.
“These methods are obviously profitable to the farmers, but that doesn’t mean it’s generating a huge benefit. In fact, the profitability is usually quite marginal.
“The real value of antibiotics is saving people from dying. Everything else is trivial.”
While banning the use of antibiotics in food production is challenging, establishing a user fee makes good sense, according to Hollis.
Such a practice would deter the low-value use of antibiotics, with higher costs encouraging farmers to improve their animal management methods and to adopt better substitutes for the drugs, such as vaccinations.
Hollis also suggests that an international treaty could ideally be imposed. “Resistant bacteria do not respect national borders,” he says. He adds that such a treaty might have a fair chance of attaining international compliance, as governments tend to be motivated by revenue collection.
Hollis notes that in the U.S., a move has been made to control the non-human use of antibiotics, with the FDA recently seeking voluntary limits on the use of antibiotics for animal growth promotion on farms.
He asks: “Is the Canadian government going to take any action to control the use of antibiotics for food production purposes? Health Canada is trying to monitor the use of antibiotics, but has virtually no control over use.”
About these ads

From → Uncategorized

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

sueshan123blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Writing Between the Lines

Life From a Writer's POV

colouredjustice.wordpress.com

Just another WordPress.com site

Children in Prison WHY THEY ARE THERE?

my heart beats for children - they need love and education first

Quillfyre

Aspiring to poet

adcwrites

I write to give life meaning

ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com

"For two years I didn´t see the sun", a little boy in solitary cell said. Let the sun shine to all children - no solitary confinement any longer!

www.HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight

Schwein gehabt?

Pigs` Hidden Life In CAFOs - Hidden From Public´s Eyes: Here You´ll Learn more about these smart animals pigs are!

Blame it on Love

Liberate Animals - Liberate Our Spirits

homeless uk

Me and my life as a homeless 21 year old

GMO Awareness

Raising awareness about the risks of genetically modified foods (GMOs) | Alimento Transgénicos | Conscience OGM | Gentechnologie | Conciencia Transgénicos | Nei til GMO | Sin Transgénicos | Wolni od GMO | Libre de Transgénicos

My Blog OceansSpirit

A topnotch WordPress.com site

loonysite's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Traffick Alerts

Prosecute Human Trafficking as a Crime Against Humanity

blacksankofa

A bright light in a dark room.

Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunter's Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Renard Moreau Presents

Cool Miscellaneous Thoughts

sueshan123blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Writing Between the Lines

Life From a Writer's POV

colouredjustice.wordpress.com

Just another WordPress.com site

Children in Prison WHY THEY ARE THERE?

my heart beats for children - they need love and education first

Quillfyre

Aspiring to poet

adcwrites

I write to give life meaning

ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com

"For two years I didn´t see the sun", a little boy in solitary cell said. Let the sun shine to all children - no solitary confinement any longer!

www.HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight

Schwein gehabt?

Pigs` Hidden Life In CAFOs - Hidden From Public´s Eyes: Here You´ll Learn more about these smart animals pigs are!

Blame it on Love

Liberate Animals - Liberate Our Spirits

homeless uk

Me and my life as a homeless 21 year old

GMO Awareness

Raising awareness about the risks of genetically modified foods (GMOs) | Alimento Transgénicos | Conscience OGM | Gentechnologie | Conciencia Transgénicos | Nei til GMO | Sin Transgénicos | Wolni od GMO | Libre de Transgénicos

My Blog OceansSpirit

A topnotch WordPress.com site

loonysite's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Traffick Alerts

Prosecute Human Trafficking as a Crime Against Humanity

blacksankofa

A bright light in a dark room.

Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunter's Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Renard Moreau Presents

Cool Miscellaneous Thoughts

sueshan123blog

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

Writing Between the Lines

Life From a Writer's POV

colouredjustice.wordpress.com

Just another WordPress.com site

Children in Prison WHY THEY ARE THERE?

my heart beats for children - they need love and education first

Quillfyre

Aspiring to poet

adcwrites

I write to give life meaning

ChildreninShadow.wordpress.com

"For two years I didn´t see the sun", a little boy in solitary cell said. Let the sun shine to all children - no solitary confinement any longer!

www.HumansinShadow.wordpress.com

Humans in Shadow, Hidden from Public`s Eyesight

Schwein gehabt?

Pigs` Hidden Life In CAFOs - Hidden From Public´s Eyes: Here You´ll Learn more about these smart animals pigs are!

Blame it on Love

Liberate Animals - Liberate Our Spirits

homeless uk

Me and my life as a homeless 21 year old

GMO Awareness

Raising awareness about the risks of genetically modified foods (GMOs) | Alimento Transgénicos | Conscience OGM | Gentechnologie | Conciencia Transgénicos | Nei til GMO | Sin Transgénicos | Wolni od GMO | Libre de Transgénicos

My Blog OceansSpirit

A topnotch WordPress.com site

loonysite's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Traffick Alerts

Prosecute Human Trafficking as a Crime Against Humanity

blacksankofa

A bright light in a dark room.

Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunter's Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Renard Moreau Presents

Cool Miscellaneous Thoughts

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 241 other followers

%d bloggers like this: