Chrissy's Policy paper

Chrissy Stamp
Microbiology
Rachel Robson
October 3, 2008
Feeding antibiotics to animals is causing bacterial resistance
For many years now, meat manufactures have been feeding their food production animals antibiotics to promote growth and improve feed efficiency. The effects of these practices are beginning to affect humans as the administration of these antibiotics is starting to create bacterial resistance in both the animals and the products made from them (Sapkota, Lefferts and McKenzie). Sure, these antibiotics help promote growth in animals, but they also transfer the bacterial resistance in humans and cause diverse health hazards. Therefore, it becomes a question of whether it is more important to protect a few animals raised to be slaughtered, or protect the people who would be eating them.
I propose that the use of antibiotics in animal feed and water needs to be stopped. Especially the use of fluoroquinolones, this is because of the cross resistance that occurs throughout this entire class of drugs. Therefore, resistance to one fluoroquinolone compromises the effectiveness of all fluoroquinolone drugs whether they are used in animals or on humans (Tollefson, Angulo and Fedorka-Cray). By taking the antibiotics out of the feed, it will increase the cost of raising the animals and therefore increase the cost of meat, but by allowing the antibiotics to remain in the food, it creates large hospital bills for the people who are infected with the resistant bacteria. It also causes these people to have to use strong antibiotics, which can create hazardous side effects. In 1995 an estimated 4.5 million pounds of antibiotics were used to decrease the spread of infection while enhancing the growth of cattle, swine and poultry (CDC and Priority). This number can only be assumed to have grown since then, and even if it has not it seems an extreme amount of antibiotics. Even if it was just fluoroquinolones that were cut from the feed it would help drop bacterial resistance because using these strong antibiotics to treat things as simple as diarrheal illness is causing worse infections in humans who eat poultry treated with them due to the bacterial resistance. In fact, fluoroquinoloneresistant Campylobacter strains that were transmitted to humans had an additional 3 days of illness and were more likely to hospitalize the infected person demonstrates the harm caused by these resistant strains (Lovine and Blaser).
Again, the question of whether people or poultry are more important comes to mind. People are getting sick for the reason of reducing the price of feeding the animals they are eating. The cost is still there it is just passed on to the consumer in an indirect way. Instead of paying the increased price for the meat, they are paying to be put on potentially harmful antibiotics to treat the bacteria they consumed from the animal. Could not proper cooking take care of the problem of bacteria being in the meat? It could but not all meat is cooked thoroughly such as steak that is served bloody upon request. People should not have to worry about getting a super bug if they accidentally undercook their burger. When animals raised to be killed are put before fellow human beings, a problem is created. This problem must be assessed and rectified. If it is not then millions of people will be forced to make unneeded hospital visits.
Bibliography
CDC and Mayo Clinic Health Letter Safe Tables Our Priority. "Bacterial Resistance: When Antibiotics Don't Work; A Consumer Guide to Protecting Your Family." National Consumers League (1995).
Lovine, Nicole M and Martin J Blaser. "Antibiotics in Animal Feed and Spread of Resistant Campylobacter from Poultry to Humans." Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 10, No. 6 June 2004: 1158-1159.
Sapkota, Amy, et al. "What Do We Feed to Food-Production Animals? A Review of Animal Feed Ingredients and Their Potential Impacts on Human Health." Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115 Number 5 May 2007: 663-670.
Tollefson, L, F Angulo and P Fedorka-Cray. "Public Health Aspects of Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring in the USA." National surveillance for antibiotic resistance in zoonotic enteric pathogens. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice (n.d.): 141-150.

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