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Food For Thought

by on March 30, 2013

Food For Thought


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  1. The issue of testing of antibiotics on animals I believe leads us to one of the many paradigms of our current lifestyles and its habits. What is the alternative? Naturally, one would assume not testing antibiotics on animals. So, who do we test? Humans? Now, I hate to sound selfish but, is that smart? It’s still another life we are harming for the sake of science. Perhaps testing on humans would produce more accurate results but, how many people want to sign up for that? I agree with the author that we are at a crossroads of lawmaker’s decisions and reality of the FDA. I suppose a suggestion could be reserving certain animals only for produce and some for science. Unfortunately, I feel there is not enough physical animals to satisfy either of these quotas. I am interested in what type of suggestions there are to this issue of antibiotic fed livestock and antibiotic resistance in humans, other than vegetarian or vegan.

  2. Alexander Flemmings quote “there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to nonlethal quantities of the drug make them resistant” is not something that we should take lightly. That in regards to this warning we must understand that in exposing healthy livestock to low doses of antibiotics can and will produce super bugs that we will then have no defense against. I feel if we do not start to take this issue seriously and realize that our ignorant actions can have serious consequences on the human population that down the line we may be setting ourselves up for tragedy. The article states the reasoning for giving healthy live stock these doses of antibiotics is to make them grow faster and suppress diseases that arise because they live in close quarters on top of one another’s waste. A means to fixing this problem is to be less concerned with mass production and to have more ethical concerns in regards to livestock health and living conditions as well as our own. That if we took the time and were willing to make these adjustments to the ways in which we raise livestock that the benefits would effect all. I feel the steps that are being taken towards more awareness and regulation are good ones but that this issue needs to continue to be a focus and as much as possible needs to be done in order to prevent these superbugs from being created and spread to humans and animals.

  3. Chapin Evans permalink

    “The F.D.A. started testing retail meat and poultry for antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 1996″… I can’t believe how late that was! Also… “We have more than enough scientific evidence to justify curbing the rampant use of antibiotics for livestock, yet the food and drug industries are not only fighting proposed legislation to reduce these practices, they also oppose collecting the data” – now that is just counterintuitive. I feel like the United States is so incessantly in the pursuit of progress that reason is overshadowed. I also feel like the argument that “at this point, the US can’t do anything about the situation” is overused. It’s like the argument that “Kimball Dining Hall can’t provide us with truly healthy food.” How can we know that that is true if a radical change hasn’t been attempted? Regarding this article, public health experts are telling policy makers that more research needs to be done, and yet I don’t understand why the experts are being ignored. It may be tedious and costly to provide extra testing and also to put what needs to be done into action, but I think that’s worth it versus dealing with later consequences and chalking it up to hindsight bias.

  4. In many ways, the issue of feeding antibiotics to livestock parallels fracking. The government is lubricating the process for companies to do what’s in their best interest. Kessler makes a compelling statement about this in his article, when he writes, “We have more than enough scientific evidence to justify curbing the rampant use of antibiotics for livestock… Unfortunately, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, as well as the FDA, is aiding and abetting them”. I do question what these government officials eat themselves. Aren’t they concerned for their loved ones, at the minimum level? This reading reminds me of the pandemic discourse Foer briefly addresses. Exchange theorists would argue that there is a neglect in cost-benefit analysis. The short term benefits include financial prosperity for the phrama companies at the expense of antibiotic resistant diseases that may lead to catastrophic pandemics. I wonder if these individuals blatantly ignore the social costs of their economic gain. I also agree with the second comment above., we cannot take lightly our contributions to this issue.

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