Animal husbandry and poultry farming is a prime source of food for people all around the world. This industry provides various ingredients and consumer products to many other industries like the restaurant industry and several supermarkets.
Unfortunately, many of these poultry and animal husbandry farms keep their animals in very low hygienic conditions. These shelters are usually least maintained and they turn into breeding grounds of different forms of bacteria, viruses, fungus, and parasites.
The farm owners focus on periodically feeding or injecting antibiotics to these animals, to help them fight off any kind of disease they get infected with while living in those poor environments.
They do not improve and/or maintain the hygiene of such farms because of high expense and high maintenance cost and thus the antibiotic feeding strategy turns out to be far cheaper than the former one.
This is why most of the consumer meat available in supermarkets and supplied to restaurants are antibiotic infected products. Organic meats are also available but they come with a higher price tag due to high production and maintenance costs.
The antibiotics not only reduce cost but also boost an animal’s growing speed, much faster compared to natural growth, thus increasing the speed of supply of their products. This in turn boosts the profit of their companies.
The World Health Organization warns agricultural companies to stop using antibiotics to treat animals because these methods can lead to many dire consequences shortly.
The following reasons guide us as to why we should always favor buying and consuming antibiotic-free meat.
Poor Animal Livestock Conditions
The most affected among all these cost-effective processes are the animals themselves. This livestock is kept in very poorly maintained and highly unhygienic shelters and is denied proper hygiene and sustenance which they solely deserve.
These animals provide different kinds of products like eggs, meat, milk, and other dairy products. Some animals like buffalos, oxen, and donkeys also provide manual labor. Despite their usefulness, they are bred in dire conditions where harmful bacteria and parasites infect and harm these animals.
Instead of providing proper hygiene, maintenance, and care that they deserve, they are periodically fed and/or injected with antibiotics which helps their bodies fight off such bacteria and prevents them from falling severely ill.
These basic animal rights, that they are deprived of, should be an alarming concern and a change to such systems are necessary.
Faster Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria In Animals
The repeated use and overuse of antibiotics leads to a steeper rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites. Every living organism acquires the ability to adapt to pre-existing conditions.
Overusing antibiotics always expose these harmful bacteria and parasites to these drugs and they start adapting over time. Soon those particular antibiotics do not seem to work against such harmful microorganisms anymore. Now, a stronger antibiotic drug with a particular dose needs to be administered to kill that microorganism.
Antibiotics are making more bacteria and viruses highly resistant by the day and this can cause a huge livestock crisis in the coming future. These animals will fall sick and these antibiotics will turn out ineffective, thus leading to a rise in epidemics and endangering many livestock species.
Antibiotic Meat Products Will Eventually Make You Sick
Antibiotics are cheaper than improving pre-existing livestock conditions and properly maintaining a healthy and hygienic shelter. They also boost the growth and aging of many animals, which leads to faster product output and ultimately increasing profit.
Periodic antibiotic dosages have their side effects. These antibiotics leave their residues on the muscles and fibers of these animals. Thus, the end product of such animals retains a certain amount of residue. We end up consuming such harmful residues through the meat we eat and that is very unhealthy.
The antibiotic resistance that bacteria are acquiring day by day at a much faster rate is not only true for animals but also humans. Consuming such meats increases the amount of antibiotic content in our bodies.
Bacteria, parasites, and viruses all around us continuously get exposed to such antibiotics which are helping us protect our body. Their adaptation to such drugs speeds up and they quickly become so resistant to such chemicals that such compositions are rendered useless. This will lead to a rise in several newer and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses which will jeopardize millions of human lives. The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic is a prime example.
Another key example is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. This bug is highly antibiotic-resistant and is commonly found in hospitals and public spaces. This is responsible for the death of 2 million Americans and ends up killing 23,000 people per year. Now, this bug requires a much stronger antibiotic accompanied by a very high dose to completely exterminate it.
The World Health Organization states that half the antibiotics available today will completely be rendered ineffective by the year 2050 if we continue such agricultural malpractices.
Antibiotic Shortage Crisis
Antibiotics are crucial drugs necessary to both humans and animals alike. It helps the body to fight against dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They have a specific use case and they are not built to be overused for commercial benefits.
Overusing antibiotics are harmful to both animals and humans and the regular usage of such chemicals, for regular livestock immunization, have shifted their supply towards such agricultural sectors.
This might lead to a major antibiotic shortage crisis shortly and that will prove to be extremely harmful to both animals and humans in need. Many animals and human lives can perish due to such a shortage and this issue requires mandatory addressing.
What We Can Do?
The government needs to enact strict laws against such malpractices and the companies need to reform their methodologies too. But there are few ways in which we can contribute to such a cause.
- Avoid antibiotic meat products and opt for greener alternatives. Labels like “organic” and “antibiotic-free” indicate antibiotic-free meat. They are usually pricier than their cheaper alternatives.
- Avoid restaurants and eat-outs where dishes are prepared using antibiotic meats. Encourage them to choose the better one.
- Raising our concerns by using various social media platforms and educating the masses.