Misusing antibiotic treatments in factory farms is making us sick with E.Coli, MRSA, and salmonella, to name a few. By going vegetarian, you may think you’re safe from this chain problem, but you don’t need to be a meat eater to be infected by drug-resistant bacteria!
Animals who are given antibiotics can develop resistant bacteria in their stomachs. That bacteria can remain in animal meat and could spread to humans when not cooked properly. Non-meat eaters could consume it too – if fertilizer that contains animal feces with drug-resistant bacteria is used on food crops, then veggies will contain the bacteria too.
This is a huge problem, one that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have addressed before Congress. These departments have stated that the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is leading to the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistant illness in humans! In fact, antibiotics in agriculture have been linked to a rise in “superbugs.”
Antibiotics should be used to treat infections, since simply using antibiotics creates resistance. They shouldn’t be used on animals for food production. If not eating meat is a no-go for certain people, then they are strongly advised to choose a kind where the animal was not fed antibiotics.
For more on how you can still get this type of bacteria in your system, even if you’re not a meat-eater, check out this infographic by Food Policy Action:
What can we do to help stop this? Fight the use of antibiotics on animals — whether you are a meat-eater or not!
Lead image source: USDA / Wikimedia Commons