Thursday, 10 February 2011

Unsafe practices by industrial swine operations

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A local newspaper from Wilmington North Carolina details a mini-revolt over the human health risks from CAFOs. That’s big pig country.

Water pollution may yet be the issue that tips intensive pig farming into the national news in Britain and forces the pace of veterinary reform.

In small islands with slow flowing rivers and an 'easy to contaminate' water table, that is even bigger dynamite than in North Carolina

You can see why Defra’s tactics are now to be prepared to tolerate an uproar about animal welfare issues.

It’s the least of two evils for them and may draw attention away from the human health risks of their rural regime.

Pity we can’t load Defra’s vets onto a plane and send them to Saudi. Alas the Saudis would not have them.

The writers first ever meeting with Maff-Defra, long ago, 25 years, was them arriving at his door when a pig farm upstream had contaminated the river.

They were searching for the culprits. Nothing changes until we have a human disaster.

Change will come: ruthless, bitter and too late.

Extracts below and the whole article can be reached here

Unsafe practices by industrial swine operations

By Rick Dove
For the StarNews
Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.

If you have been keeping up to date on the health consequences related to industrial swine and poultry production in North Carolina, there are some new findings that should significantly raise your level of concern...

...Now, researchers are reporting that cockroaches and flies found on industrial swine farms are carriers of drug-resistant bacteria found in the feces of these animals. Some of these bacteria were resistant to combinations of antibiotics, making them multi-drug resistant. As these flies and roaches move from factory farms into our communities, these drug resistant bacteria can be transferred to us.

Is this the only threat we face? Not by a long shot. One drug resistant bacteria, Methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has already moved into our homes right from the supermarket shelves. MRSA has been showing up in random samples of raw pork sold in supermarkets.

How dangerous is MRSA? Hospitals in 2005 treated more than 278,000 cases of MRSA. Approximately 100,000 people faced life threatening illness. Of those, 18,650 died. This evolving superbug also emerged from the overuse of antibiotics. Animal agriculture accounts for approximately 70% of all antibiotics used in our country. In a recent outbreak of salmonella-tainted eggs, the eggs were pulled off the supermarket shelves. That has not been the case where MRSA has been found in pork and poultry.

How big is the overall problem? It’s huge!...

...Locally, many who have been watching this potential health threat emerge have tried to get government officials in our state to respond. On July 6, 2009, four North Carolina coastal Riverkeepers, along with 29 other knowledgeable individuals, petitioned Gov. Beverly Perdue to convene a Governor’s Task Force on Public Health Issues Associated with the Swine Industry. Representatives of the group requested a meeting with the Governor. She refused to meet and took no action on their request.

What’s the bottom line?

It’s time to end the practice of using lagoons and sprayfields to dispose of raw animal waste and the overuse of antibiotics, especially on factory farms, is now.

There is no choice.