HIGHTOWER: Antibiotic Insanity

As every child knows, "Old MacDonald had a farm," but industrialized agribusiness is rapidly displacing Old Mac, replacing our family farmers with corporate pharmacists who fatten their livestock not with grass and corn, but with antibiotics. E-I-E-I-O!

The nonprofit, independent research group, Union of Concerned Scientists, recently issued a report revealing that cows, pigs, and chickens are being fed much more massive doses of antibiotics than the drug companies and livestock corporations have admitted. These drugs are not being administered to treat animal diseases, but simply as a quick and cheap fix for fattening the animals. The UCS reports that while only 3 million pounds of antibiotics are used each year to treat humans, industry is feeding 3.7 million pounds of the drugs to cattle, 10.3 million pounds to pigs, and 10.5 million to poultry -- all to speed up their growth.

This nontherapeutic use of antibiotics means fatter profits for the drug and agribusiness giants, but it poses a real and present danger to you and your family's health. Such overdosing means that bacteria that have a natural resistance to any given antibiotic survive in the animals, becoming "superbugs" that can't be killed by that antibiotic. So, when you eat beef, pork, or poultry contaminated with these superbugs, the very antibiotic medicine that could have saved you before ... is now powerless.

Another study by the Center for Disease Control finds that 14 percent of the bacteria that cause pneumonia are now resistant to three classes of antibiotics used to fight them, and that 25 percent of the pneumonia bacteria are immune to penicillin. Likewise, Salmonella bacteria are now being found to be immune to the antibiotic used to treat the most severe cases of Salmonella food poisoning -- an antibiotic related to those used to fatten livestock.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... To stop this profiteering, call the Union of Concerned Scientists: 202 -332 -0900.


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