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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Daniel

Farm animal exposure has been found to be a risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and poultry exposure specifically has been associated with a variety of diseases including thyroid conditions, schizophrenia, senile and pre-senile psychotic conditions, and autoimmune neurological disorders such as myasthenia gravis.

Due to genetic manipulation, most of retail milk, including skim milk, now comes from pregnant cows and is, thus, high in steroid sex hormones, which may explain why vegan women have five times less chance of having twins. Due in part to the rise in industrial animal agriculture, farm animals and/or their meat have also been found to be contaminated with: Hepatitis E, E. coli, drug residues, prions, obesity causing chicken viruses, anabolic steroids, staph (Staphylococcus) bacteria, and the sarcocystis parasite. Processed meats are high in nitrites, which can form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Avian leukosis/sarcoma virus has been found in 14% of retail egg samples, though the human public health implications are unknown. Farm raised fish and chicken can high levels of toxic pollutants (dioxins), thought due to the sewer sludge fed to them. Most of the GMO soy grown in the US is fed to farm animals. Greenhouse gas emissions from farm animals may play a role in climate change.

One way to promote growth in farm animals is to feed them antibiotics. This injudicious abuse of miracle drugs leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA that are too often found in retail meat. The FDA estimates 80% of available antibiotics may be used for farm animals. Simply living in close proximity to industrial animal farms may increase susceptibility to encountering antibiotic resistant bacteria. This is evident in slaughterhouse employees and people growing up on animal farms. Even organic chicken can be infected with superbug bacteria. Eating outside of our own animal kingdom may ensure less exposure to these bugs.

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