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What’s the big deal? It’s just medicine…

For human beings, eating meat raised with antibiotics can have some dangerous consequences. In some cases, this danger directly relates to subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics. What in particular could be so wrong with this type of dosage? Subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics…

·         Can cause germs to become resistant to antibiotics, especially “common food-borne illnesses” (Antibiotics in Agriculture)

·         Can cause people to be unable to cure illnesses with the medicines we currently have

·         Become more prevalent in large CAFOs; this means that meat growers jam more animals into less space, which raises the occurrence of disease and the “need” for antibiotics (Antibiotics in Agriculture)

·         Can cause people to consume antibiotic resistant germs in their meat. According to Dr. Glenn Morris, if for whatever reason, meat containing antibiotic resistant germs has not been cooked properly, humans who eat that meat can get sick and have problems finding an antibiotic which will work to cure their illness (Frontline: Modern Meat).

·         Can cause farmers working with animals that take antibiotics to develop a resistance to antibiotics (Antibiotic Risk to Humans)

Other resistance related problems have happened because antibiotics have been used too much. For example, before the FDA prohibited its use in 2005, Baytril, an extremely potent antibiotic, had been over used in a borderline subtherapeutic and therapeutic manner (FDA Bans Antibiotic Baytril For Use on Poultry and Frontline: Modern Meat). However, a problem soon emerged because of a second potent antibiotic used in humans called Cipro, a drug in the same family as Baytril (Frontline: Modern Meat). Officials suspected that the overuse of Baytril in meat could cause people to stop responding to Cipro (Frontline: Modern Meat).

Studies such as one performed by Dr. Stewart Levy involving chickens and their resistance to the antibiotic Tetracycline, show that healthy chickens can develop a type of resistance to Tetracycline in only a week (Antibiotic Risk to Humans). Furthermore, Levy found that the same chickens can develop a resistance to other antibiotics in a matter of only three months (Antibiotic Risk to Humans).

As stated above, resistance to antibiotics can cause a major problem for those people who need to take them. Farmer Russell Kremer almost died from a strep infection because of a resistance to antibiotics; the farmer contracted strep though an injury from a boar that was fed a diet which included antibiotics (Antibiotic Risk to Humans).

Scary Statistic: A 2006 study by the USDA also found that almost 73 percent of farmers used antibiotics on piglets…many of these farmers did not have the supervision of a veterinarian (Antibiotic Risk to Humans).