Meat industry public relations campaign to “crush” myths makes false claim about the millions of pounds of antibiotics fed to farm animals.
Image thanks to: James Bowe.
Recently, meat industry groups launched a new PR campaign to “crush” myths about meat, countering, for example, the notion put forth by the World Health organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, etc. that antibiotics to livestock by the truckload poses a human health risk. These are the drugs approved for use in farm animals. And they're fed to farm animals by the millions of pounds a year to promote growth and prevent disease in the stressful, overcrowded, unhygienic environments they may be confined in these days. The PR people scoffed at the Union of Concerned Scientists estimate that as much as 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. go to livestock. The reason that it had to be estimated, of course, is that the industry refuses to release the true numbers, but it was the best we had. But it is a statistic the Mythbusters claim cannot possibly be calculated considering that antibiotic use in humans is not tracked. Turns out, as with much in meat mythmaking, this simply isn’t true. That data is tracked by the FDA Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, as pointed out by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. So was it really 70% of antimicrobial drugs going to farm animals like the Union of Concerned Scientists claimed or was this just a myth to be crushed. And I have to say, according to the latest available data the meat industry is right that it’s not 70% going to farm animals, it’s closer to 80%. More than 28 million pounds a year. But then again why listen to the American Medical Association, when it comes to your health, when you can listen to the American Meat Science Association?
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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For more on the concerns surrounding the use of critical, life-saving wonder drugs to buttress the bottom-line of the livestock industry, see Drug Residues in Meat, U.S. Meat Supply Flying at Half Staph, and MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat. The fact that this risky practice continues, despite desperate calls from the medical and public health communities to stop, speaks to the combined might of drug companies and agribusiness in affecting U.S. policy. I've got 20 other videos on industry influence over our food supply and hundreds of videos on more than a thousand topics.
For more context, check out my associated blog post: Bugs & Drugs in Pork: Yersinia and Ractopamine
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