I recently started thinking about the effects of antibiotics and antibacterial agents in our daily food, water and living environments. To be honest, it’s all a bit daunting. Is it really completely avoidable? I personally like to believe every little bit we are able to do, helps. In my opinion, this is the case in all aspects of life.
The use of antibiotics in livestock farming is extensive.
The animals on these factory farms are made to live under horrendous conditions. For instance, should you look at the poultry and egg farming practices, the chickens housed in battery cages or broiler sheds aren’t able to do anything that comes naturally to them. Not being able to stretch their wings, dust bathe, feel the sun on their feathers, breath clean air, or even just sit on a perch comfortably without pain, they can’t even move properly, if at all. (http://biophile.co.za/ethical-consumerism/alls-not-well-down-on-the-chicken-farm) How can animals be housed in such conditions, yet live healthy lives? Well this is where the antibiotics come in….. They are routinely fed antibiotics in their food and water to keep them “healthy”, or at least alive until slaughter day arrives or their bodies are simply unable to produce anymore eggs and they are discarded. Seventy percent of all U.S. antibiotics are fed to farm animals, according to the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA). (http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/20902/) The same methods are used in the beef, veal, pork and dairy industries. The worst of these probably battery and broiler chickens closely followed by pork, veal, diary, oh, the lot of them actually. The factory-farmed chicken, cow or pig found today is among the most medicated creatures on Earth. But let us leave the atrocities of factory farming for another article.
Back to the antibiotics and what the effects on humans are.
Don’t misunderstand me; antibiotics and antibacterials have their place, yet money hungry people are abusing it. Antibiotics have a lot of negative effects if not used correctly and at the right time. They have no regard for good or bad bacteria, killing everything in its way. Or, if taken in small amounts, the bacteria and viruses adapt by becoming immune. Especially in a country like South Africa with the high occurrence of immune deficiency disorders this is very disturbing. When antibiotics are crucial for the healing process, they may not work! Not even talking about the havoc it causes to our bodies, which needs certain bacterial strains in order to function properly. Or the side effects of these medications given to the animals may have on humans.
The high levels of antibiotics in the factory farming industry also means stronger strains of E.coli, campylobacter, salmonella, and listeria to name but a few. This means that these bacterial strains can be present in the very food we buy in the supermarket because they have become too strong to be killed by the ordinary methods used.
There are two ways to avoid consuming unnecessary antibiotics.
The number one way is to only use Free Range organic meats, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt. Remember that this also counts for products with egg and milk as ingredients. Know where your products are coming from. Read the ingredients and if you can’t find biscuits made with Free Range eggs, make them yourself! Number two is to go vegan. Do not eat any foods derived from animals.