Citing research showing that feeding antibiotics to animals on factory farms in order to promote growth “is not in the interest of protecting or promoting public health,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that farmers stop routinely mixing antibiotics into animal feed.
Unfortunately, just because the FDA—along with about a gazillion (give or take a zillion) other health experts who are alarmed by the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”—recommends this, it doesn’t mean that factory farm operators are going to meekly flush their arsenal of magic bullets down the drain. After all, the reason why antibiotics are fed to animals on factory farms is to keep them from dying in the filthy, crowded conditions that farmers force these animals to call home. Factory farms are prime breeding grounds for potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, and the conditions are so putrid that millions of animals die within a matter of weeks before they are even sent to slaughter, despite being shot up with drugs. Imagine how few would survive without them.
So expect factory farm operators to fight tooth and nail to avoid giving up their pharmaceutical cocktails—because the only alternative is to improve conditions on factory farms or … gasp … to stop raising animals altogether.
Written by Alisa Mullins