Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Mary

The FDA issued voluntary guidance to remove antibiotics from farm animal feed, however, it is non-binding and legally non-enforceable, so 80% of available antibiotics may still be squandered on farm animalsMass feeding of antibiotics to livestock is directly linked to antibiotic resistant bacteria infections in humans. Clostridium difficile is one of the superbugs found in the U.S. meat supply (including up to 42% of poultry sampled), and may be even more dangerous than MRSA.

Dioxins are highly toxic pollutants that may be found in contaminated feed fed to chickens and farm-raised fish.  Canthoxanthine feed additives given to farmed fish may be linked to gold dust retinopathy. The poultry industry feeds their birds millions of pounds of arsenic-containing drugs every year, ending up in chickens and feathers (which is used along other unusable chicken parts to feed back to farm animals). Estrogen levels found in this chicken litter fed back to chickens may trigger premature development in consumers. Researchers in Greece fed infected cow brains to farm fish and found evidence mad cow-like changes in the fish.

Bacteria-eating viruses have been approved as meat additives to reduce the risk of Listeria and Campylobacter found in processed meat and poultry products. Most GMO soy grown in the US is fed to farm animals. The egg industry is attempting to improve the fatty acid lipid profile of eggs by feeding blubber from the Canadian harp seal hunt to laying hens to lower their arachidonic acid level. Government subsidies of livestock feed keep these unhealthy products so cheap.


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