HIGHTOWER: Antibiotic Suicide

For us human types, the end of the world will not come with a Bang . . . nor with a whimper . . . but with a giggle. Assuming that bacteria know how to giggle.What will set these microscopic bugs off on a giggle-spasm is the absolute, bone-deep stupidity of us humans letting industrialized agriculture make us so fatally vulnerable to bacteria.In these modern times, we have devised an arsenal of antibiotics to fight off bacteria -- everything from penicillin to the latest class of repellents, called flouroquinolones. If you get a bacterial infection, your doctor has this line of medical defense to help you -- and maybe save your life.Except that the bacteria are suddenly developing a powerful resistance to our arsenal of antibiotics. Why is this? Because of chickens. More specifically, it's because of such industrialized chicken processors as Tyson, as well as other meat purveyors. These giants -- with the approval of so-called government regulators -- have been using antibiotics as growth stimulants to speed the process of fattening their animals (and their profits). Scientists don't know why these drugs promote growth, but they do know they promote something else: antibiotic resistant bacteria.By routinely feeding antibiotics to chickens, the weak bacteria are killed, but the strong ones survive, multiply, and become drug-resistant superbugs in these chickens. When people get sick from eating the chicken, their doctors reach for such antibiotics as flouroquinolones to zap the bugs -- but, alas, the bugs are now immune to flouroquinolones . . . and the patient is dead.We're literally letting Tyson and other profiteers kill us -- almost half of the antibiotics produced in America are used by them to fatten chickens and other animals, and a third of all antibiotics fed to these animals are supposed to treat sick people.This is Jim Hightower saying . . . No antibiotic used to treat people should be given to the likes of Tyson to fatten chickens and profits.


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