United States livestock, mainly those animals raised for meat, are fed 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics each year. This translates to 80% of all antibiotics in the country, including those for human use. The consequence of consistently feeding antibiotics to livestock is antibiotic resistant bacteria. Humans come in contact with these bacteria through eating food from industrial livestock facilities, living in environments contaminated with waste from such facilities, or by direct contact with animals that are over medicated. Illnesses, in humans, caused by these bacteria do not react to antibiotics as they are supposed to, and instead become “super bugs” that require much stronger and heavier dosages of antibiotics. Some infections have been found to not even react to these stronger antibiotics, for example staphylococcus.
The European Union long ago realized the dangers of regularly feeding antibiotics to healthy animals and banned the practice. Therefore the EU does not import any meat from the United States. Countries, like Canada, Japan and Australia, have also followed suit. So why isn’t American listening?
The reason is the factory farming industry believes that halting the practice would severely cut their profits. Studies from 1946 showed that systematic feeding of antibiotics caused livestock to grow faster and put on weight more efficiently, thereby increasing profits. In actuality, the antibiotics are used to counteract the infections caused by primarily feeding corn, which has no nutritional value and toxifies most livestock digestion processes, but is very cheap, as well as successful for quick weight gain. Bottom line is that large-scale livestock farming organizations only care about profits: Not your health or the animals’ health.