Past the Age of Miracles: Facing a Post-Antibiotic Age

Past the Age of Miracles: Facing a Post-Antibiotic Age


in the keynote address last year the director-general of the World Health Organization warned that we may be facing a future in which many of our miracle drugs no longer work a post-antibiotic era means in effect an end to modern medicine as we know it things has come-to strep throat or child scratch knee could once again kill the Director General’s prescription to avoid this catastrophe include the global call to restrict the use of antibiotics in food production to therapeutic purposes in other words only use antibiotics in agriculture to treat sick animals in the United States meat producers feed literally millions of pounds of antibiotics to farm animals who aren’t sick just to promote growth or prevent disease in the often cramped stressful on hygienic conditions in industrial animal agriculture the FDA estimates that 80% of the antimicrobial drugs sold in the US every year now go to the meat industry the discoverer of penicillin warned us back in the 40s that misuse could lead to resistance but the meat industry didn’t listen and started feeding drugs like penicillin to chickens by the ton the Food and Drug Administration finally wised up to the threat in 1977 and proposed stopping the feeding of penicillin and tetracyclines to farm animals that was 36 years ago since then the combined political power of the factory farming and pharmaceutical industries has effectively sorted any legislative or regulatory action and this stranglehold shows no sign of breaking we realized this reckless practice was a public health threat decades ago and yet what’s been done about it present farm animal production is concentrated in high-volume crowded stressful environments made possible in part by the routine use of antibacterial drugs in the feed the u.s. congressional office of Technology Assessment wrote as far back as 1979 thus the current dependency on low-level use of antibiotics to increase or in production wall of immediate benefit also could be the Achilles heel of present production methods industrial operations use antibiotics is a crutch to compensate for the squalid conditions that now characterize much of modern agribusiness the unnatural crowding of animals and their waste creates such a strain on the animals immune systems that normal body processes like growth may be impaired that’s why a constant influx of antibiotics is thought to accelerate weight gain by reducing the infectious load the problem is that each animal feeding on the antibiotic becomes a factory for the production and subsequent dispersion of antibiotic resistant bacteria offering a whole new meaning to the term factory farm you

25 thoughts on “Past the Age of Miracles: Facing a Post-Antibiotic Age

  1. We are in a world of hurt! I don't have much hope for the future. At 64 I probably won't see the worst that's yet to come but our children and theirs are facing a bleak future if corporatism has anything to say about it. 🙁

  2. Is there anything that hasn't been negatively affected by the meat industry? If they were selling any other product, they would have been shut down decades ago, so why do we continue to put up with their mess? Our soil, our air, our water, or fossil fuels, our grains and now our microorganisms have all been tainted because of meat.

  3. Excellent work, Dr.! I wonder if students getting degrees in agriculture science are getting this?

  4. Confining meat consumption to local, pastured meats may cost more, but its worth it to avoid supporting the evils of big agra.

  5. I wonder what percentage say of chicken in thw us is raised without antibiotics. Where i shop, a big sign says there are no antibiotica in their meat, ever. It says the same on most of the eggs.

  6. good old oil of oregano…garlic, onions and parsley…haven't used antibiotics for over 25 years…free range or bust

  7. Antibiotics have been known to increase growth (and meat yield) since 1946, and have been routinely added to the feed at large animal feeding operations since the late 50s.

    On scholar.google a search for research papers with the words "antibiotic resistance concentrated animal feeding operation" yields 23,400 papers.

    This isn't a vegan zealot issue. American Medical Association, the World Health Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all agree it has to stop.

  8. In the U.S., unless meat, eggs or dairy are labeled as "certified organic", it is overwhelmingly likely that antibiotics were used as growth promoters in their feed, selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    Due to federally mandated withdrawal periods, active antibiotics are negligible in meat, but residues from their metabolism can be detected.

    Whether the meat contains active antibiotic remains irrelevant to the problem of selecting for antibiotic resistant pathogens on the farm.

  9. our moral code has grown profoundly and empathy for animals is more discernable now than ever. that along with a steady diet of eating the rich, i truly believe the equilibrium will prevail

  10. Dr Greger, while I very much appreciate your information, I wonder why you never ever talk about animal ethics. I'm sure you would agree that the whole reason we should stop using animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons is because using sentient beings as property is morally unjustifiable, and is great violence. When we talk about this issue in terms of health and environment, we deny this very important truth.

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