Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbug’ Makes Its Way From Farms to Newborns

Published by Zachary Toliver.

According to experts, by 2050, more people will die from antibiotic-resistant diseases than from cancer. “Superbugs” developing on farms have worried scientists for years—and now, researchers fear that this impending threat is only growing.

While conducting an investigation for The Guardian, researchers were alarmed by reports that “livestock”-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) was found in the umbilical cords of newborn babies in Scotland.

Scientists are unable to explain exactly how newborn babies came into contact with the superbug. However, LA-MRSA has been found in samples of animal flesh sold in grocery chains. Highly contagious, this strain can live on humans’ skin and can be spread by touching infected humans or animals (including raw animal flesh).

Nearly 80 percent of meat in U.S. supermarkets contains some form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While many people can carry the superbug without knowing, others have experienced skin irritation. The bacteria can also cause life-threatening infections such as pneumonia and blood poisoning.

Nearly half of all antibiotics used in the Western world are given to farmed animals.

Bacteria is everywhere on crowded, filthy farms, so farmers use huge amounts of antibiotics to keep animals alive in the sickening conditions. Because of the rampant use of antibiotics, certain bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that antibiotic resistance is “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.”

In Denmark—Europe’s leading pig-flesh producer—an estimated two-thirds of piggeries are contaminated with LA-MRSA. According to official numbers provided by the Danish government, some 12,000 people in the country are infected with the superbug.

“The fact is that all countries with a big pig production have this problem. They just don’t know exactly how big it is,” stated Denmark’s Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Dan Jørgensen.

Eating meat not only kills sensitive animals but also contributes to this serious threat to human health.

The United Nations found that 70 percent of harmful new human diseases originated in animals and that most of those are directly linked to animals used for food. The World Health Organization states that processed meat causes cancer. Meanwhile, vegan eating reduces one’s risk of suffering from many chronic degenerative diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

What You Can Do

Animals are not ours to treat like inanimate objects. There’s nothing natural about pumping antibiotics into conscious, sickly animals so that they can survive (barely) while being forced to live in their own waste.

Thankfully, eating animals is completely unnecessary—and humans can live healthy, cruelty-free lives by going vegan. When you do, you’ll save the lives of nearly 200 animals in just one year. Get started with PETA’s free vegan starter kit.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind