By now you’ve read our blog about the dangers of antibacterial soaps (What? You haven’t read it yet? Well, go on. We’ll wait… Okay, ready?) and now that you’re making the change to regular soap, you might think you’re all set. Ah, sweet child. We hate to be the bearer of bad news but… there’s a pretty good chance you’re still being overloaded with antibiotics. How? You’re eating them!
As we mentioned last week, an over-reliance on antibiotics and antibacterial products has contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To top it off, most meat comes from animals treated heavily with antibiotics.
A great deal of our meat is produced through Contained Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). CAFOs involve keeping animals, feed, manure, urine, dead animals and production operations confined to small land areas. Rather than animals grazing or seeking feed in pastures, food is brought to them. This sounds innocent enough, right? Sadly, the reality is quite bleak because CAFOs involve hundreds, often thousands, of animals kept in incredibly tight quarters, typically lacking in fresh air or sunlight. Additionally, although it seems like confining animals to a smaller area would allow greater control over the environmental impact, it turns out the impact is actually really high.
Aside from the obvious issues about the animals’ quality of life, CAFOs result in a lot of illnesses and infections for the animals. It isn’t uncommon for them to stand around in mass quantities of urine and feces and this, inevitably, leads to health issues for the animals. The response has been to administer antibiotics in staggering quantities. How staggering? 80% of all the antibiotics used in the United States are administered to farm animals. Part of this is to encourage bigger and faster growth, allowing them to be raised and slaughtered faster while generating more meat per animal.
What does this mean for us?
The result of all this is that by the time your steak, your chicken, or your eggs come to your plate, you’re ingesting the same antibiotics the animals were given. You know, on top of the ones your doctor gave you last week and the antibacterial soap you keep using (seriously! You read our blog on it! Why are you still using that stuff?).
By now, you’re probably thinking about turning vegetarian or vegan – let’s see those pesky antibiotics get to you now! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Join us next week when we’ll discuss why vegans and vegetarians should be concerned about antibiotic use on CAFOs and what we can all do to protect ourselves and fight back.
1st Published: August 9, 2016
1st Update: July 28, 2017