What’s scarier than the price of meat these days? Oh, how about your expensive meat accompanied by a side dish of, say, MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staph infection? That’s exactly what scientists have found in grocery stores in Washington, DC and Louisiana. Doesn’t that just sound yummy? I remember when I had a relative who had a nasty staph infection. He had to have the thing operated on, injected daily and lots of other fun stuff to get rid of it. Mmm yes, definitely appetizing.
Earlier this year, another strand of MRSA—a brand new one, actually—was found in pigs and pig farms as well. Scientists say that this strain is capable of producing more deadlier, viral strains, too.
And why? Well, we all know that. It’s the same reason why European countries don’t allow the kind of milk we drink into their countries—because we put all kinds of stuff in our farm-based food, particularly the antibiotics injected into livestock. The routine use of antibiotics in everything from cows to pigs to chickens leads to an evolution of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics—the “superbugs” that so many people are worried about.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, about 70% of livestock in U.S. factory farms are given antibiotics—and most of them aren’t even sick! I don’t know about you, but I put up a fuss and research antibiotics before my kid gets them for any kind of illness (did you know that most kids with ear infections in Europe are not given antibiotics because they are usually ineffective against them—and that American doctors often distribute them based on parents’ expectations?). We’ve also stopped buying hand wash with antibiotics in it; why the heck would we then continue to eat food with antibiotics in it?
So let’s just stop putting them in our food already. Representative Louise Slaughter (isn’t that ironic?), a Democrat from New York, has a plan. She has introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) into the House of Representatives. The Act calls for the restriction of the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Everyone from agriculture experts to public health officials to the Obama Administration to even the FDA is supporting it; the question is, is your representative in favor of the act?
Get to your representative before big agriculture does. That is, of course, the group that’s against the act. They’ve been able to keep the antibiotics in the animals—and us—for this long; why stop now?
Take action today by writing your representative and asking him or her to sign on to PAMTA!