Misuse of antibiotics and ‘factory farming’ of animals: Alarm bells sound

argylesock says… I wrote here, recently, about the misuse of antibiotics in the rich world. This is very real and it matters to the whole world. It’s good to see what ILRI is saying about it, alongside their insights into how complex the issues around livestock are. Recently I read a magazine article whose author (North American, I think) advocated the view that everybody should eat a plant-based diet. He said he’d ‘allow a few people’ whose land isn’t suitable for growing crops, to eat animal products. I tell you, that was almost enough to make me cancel my subscription to that particular magazine. Wake up, the world is complicated.

ILRI Clippings

'The Spoonful of Milk', by Marc Chagall (via Wikipaintings)

‘The Spoonful of Milk’ by Marc Chagall, 1912 (via WikiPaintings).

‘. . . It is estimated that about 70% of the world’s antibiotics are fed to farm animals: the precise amount used in agriculture is poorly recorded. But what seems sure — as the number of intensively farmed animals grows — is that their use increases too, particularly in the most intensive sectors: poultry and pigs. Even in countries where the routine feeding of antibiotics is banned (as in the EU) spot checks show considerable misuse.

If we are concerned about the over-use of antibiotics in human medicine then alarm bells should sound louder still when it comes to their use in intensive farming.

‘In factory farms infections spread fast. . . .

’65 billion animals are reared world-wide every year, a number that is predicted to reach 120 billion by 2050. As production increases so does the number of hitherto unknown…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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