A recent study conducted on Chinese commercial pig farms has found extremely high levels of antibiotic resistance genes (ARG’s) in pigs. China is the world’s largest producer of antibiotics, in fact, they use four times as many antibiotics for veterinary use than the United States. Although this study took place in China, it is a reflection to what is happening all over the world.
Antibiotics are poorly absorbed by animals, and this means that they end up in manure, compost, fertilizer and groundwater. International trade, recreational travel and immigration also spread the ARG’s. A chief concern is that antibiotic resistant genes can be transferred to other bacteria causing sickness in humans that can not be treated with antibiotics.
ARG’s can be thought of as pollutants and pose a major threat to world health. This study only reinforces the urging from the World Organization for Animal Health and The U.S Food and Drug Administration to investigate improved regulation of veterinary antibiotic use.
Antibiotics and Gut Health
Farm animals receive 30 times more antibiotics than humans to help the animals grow fast and to keep them from getting sick due to their inhumane living conditions. America produces 35 million pounds of antibiotics each year that are consumed between livestock, poultry, and humans.
Antibiotics do not distinguish between healthy microflora in the intestine and pathogenic microbes. There are over 100 trillion bacteria in the intestinal tract, some good, some bad. This balance is thrown way off with the present antibiotic insult taking place.
Without a healthful dose of probiotics, antibiotics causes bacteria to mutate and develop resistance. A chain reaction ensues when the resistant bacteria transfer genetic bacteria to nonresistant bacteria, causing them to become resistant. The unhealthy bacteria move heavy metals into the body while parasites take up residence without resistance.
The concern with antibiotics and health is threefold. If we consume commercially raised livestock and poultry, we are consuming antibiotics. The antibiotics we take for illnesses disrupt our intestinal flora (which is a main component of our immune system) and now, we have to be concerned with the looming threat of migrant ARG’s.
We can only control what we can control. This means taking responsibility for what we eat and how we treat our bodies. If we choose to eat meat, we should consume only organic grass fed beef, organic chicken and make healthy lifestyle choices, so that we can reduce our dependence on antibiotics. Supporting legislation in favor of stricter use of antibiotics in animals and educating others are useful pursuits in light of this scary health threat!
If you eat meat, do you eat organic and grass-fed? Are you concerned with the amount of antibiotics going into your body that you are unaware of?
– The Alternative Daily