recently reported in this article
, a US study has shown the spread of MRSA
to humans, who live around animal farms. In recent years, more and more studies successfully linked the occurence of (multiple-)drug-resistant bacteria in humans to animal industry. As many are aware, the last decade has confronted us with a threat of global pandemics, that seemed quite unfamiliar. Mad cow disease
, food-and-mouth disease
and avian flu
caused major concern all over the world, as well as exposing our inadequate medical and vaccination capabilities to deal with such threats, if they had spread more widely. These kinds of threats are not unprecedented – consider the horrible 1918 flu pandemic
that killed millions of people (up to 5% of the human species) – yet, the late 20th century, from which most of us draw our personal experiences, has been relatively free of such occurences due to advances in medicine. While we were lucky that none of the aforementioned threats turned into global killers, we have to remember that some might and that they leave us struggling when they do – think HIV
, which we've been struggling with for decades.
Just like the aformentioned diseases, even HIV/AIDS was originally contracted from eating animals (HIV: "bushmeat
"), and since has spread, taken millions of lives and wrecked economies. So we should take bold steps to reduce the likelihood of any such developments to occur ever again. The most important step towards that goal is to end depending on animal products, so one can stop using precious medicine that creates resistant "superbugs"
. Although the EU banned the non-medical use of antibiotics in livestock, companies found ways around that, especially around using imported animal products. Apart from the EU, no other nation really followed up on that, and antibiotics usage in animal industry nowadays accounts for the vast majority of all antibiotics used around the globe. Since 2009, the US approved of only 2 new antibiotics, while the speed at which drug-resistance in bacteria is occuring is increasing, which causes "grave concern" among medical institutions
, as Wikipedia puts it. The science journal Nature
called it a "nightmare", a "catatrophic threat" and simply a "horror" in this article
, even warranting more background articles on animal farms and bugs
. An old Wired article
gives some more insight into why the looming loss of antibiotics endangers also all other areas of healthcare, basically making any kind of surgery impossible in the future, condemning anyone who needs even simple surgery to life-long pain or even death. Several years ago, the US death toll of drug-resistant bacteria alone breached the staggering 100,000/year and it continues to rise, according to the infectious-disease specialist at UCLA's Medical Center
. The far more conservative numbers of the CDC put it at 23,000 annually, yet provide also some economic impact, as it tells us that these bacteria cause an excess healthcare cost of 20 billion dollars annually
and the antibiotics usage in the animal industry is still at more than 80% of all administered antibiotics in the USA.
In conclusion: Diets that include meat and other animal products don't just kill animals, they're killing humans, tens of thousands, every year, and those numbers are ever-increasing, making the consumption of animal products even worse than the current civil war in Syria. These diets also leave our posterity and offspring, the future of our children in jeopardy, as we leave them a world without effective defense against the superbugs that we created by mindless behaviours.
Consider: Veganism isn't just about health, it's about medicine. Ecologists talk about reducing your "carbon footprints", but reducing your "blood footprint" seems more important to me. It's rather simple to turn vegan and remove dependencies on animal products. It doesn't require you to petition your government to intervene anywhere, nor does it require you to get up from your comfy couch, attend college or any other fanciful thing. All it requires is for you to choose what you eat, instead of having tradition and advertisement choose for you. All it requires is for you to stop looking for excuses not to do so, as these excuses make you look ignorant ("But what about proteins?"), addicted ("But I can't live without it!") or – after reading this – criminally neglectful.
To end with something beautiful and nice, you can watch this video about an elephant drawing itself holding a flower
Some recent news on the topic:
Well, my blog article was pretty well timed. Just yesterday news broke about FDA (Food & Drug Administration
) studies, thanks to the NRDC. Wired
, New York Times
and all major news outlets report on this. We now know that 29 out of the 30 antibiotic feed additives currently used in the US livestock industry failed the FDA's safety criteria from 1973
. Only 1 passed the safety criteria from 40 years ago, yet failed in efficacy tests. Furthermore 18 of those 30 antibiotic feed additives pose a "high risk of exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the food supply, based on the information available." The other 12 additives could not be evaluated, as there isn't even sufficient data about them to do so. The FDA's requests to voluntary pull certain additives out of the market have been ignored for nearly 20 years. Finally, the FDA's antibiotic feed additive evaluation program was discontinued in 2010 due to pressure from Congress.