Saturday, 13 July 2013

Are Antibiotics On The Farm Risky Business? US Public Radio


NPR (that's American National Public Radio) picks up on the antibiotics in pigs' crisis. As it is radio, you can listen as well as read this long report. It deals properly with the issue of antibiotic use to deal with co-infections to viral disease.

The development of the scandal in Britain is littered with conspiracy, resulting cover-ups, attempted smears, intimidation and harassment.

Much  information has long been deliberately removed from the WWW.

To quote a  dissident veterinarian "First of all, this kind of case may not happen often, but it's a big deal if it happens to you"

We don't even think it is uncommon and the crisis is deepening everywhere, not least in Britain

Report in full here.

Are Antibiotics On The Farm Risky Business?

by DAN CHARLES
July 11, 2013 5:51 PM

...There's a passionate but often confusing debate about this. Here at The Salt, we've decided to spend some time digging into this issue to provide more clarity. (To be honest, we needed a little clarity ourselves.)...

...He won't try to treat the flu directly, but he does try to keep it from leading to more deadly bacterial infections. So he's giving all the pigs in this barn two different antibiotics in their drinking water: tetracycline, which is an older antibiotic; and tylvalosin, a newer drug, part of the class of antibiotics called macrolides, which includes the human drug azithromycin...

...This pattern of antibiotic use is fairly typical. Most chicken farmers, pig farmers and beef producers use antibiotics to treat disease, prevent disease and promote faster growth. The percentage of antibiotics used for growth promotion is a matter of dispute, because the Food and Drug Administration's annual report on antibiotic use in farm animals doesn't provide that data. Some critics have claimed that it makes up most antibiotic use on the farm. A survey of antibiotic use in the pork industry found that the share was about 20 percent.

It all adds up to a statistic that shocks many people, and it's quoted often by critics of antibiotic use on the farm: 80 percent of all the antibiotics in the United States go into farm animals...

But this is where the big argument starts. Scientists disagree about whether this is something that we should worry about.

The worry is not so much that antibiotics will be in the meat we eat...

...The concern is around a different risk: That using antibiotics on the farm will mean that these drugs won't work when we humans need them, because in theory, the more an antibiotic is given to animals, the more quickly bacteria will adapt and become resistant to it...

...That's the risk many people working in public health say is very real. But there's passionate disagreement about how worrisome it is, and what we should do about it.

On the one hand, we have Scott Hurd, a veterinarian at Iowa State
University who's generally sympathetic to meat producers. He points out that it's not enough just to show that something can happen. "In order to make effective, science-based decisions, we have to move beyond the 'cans' to actually calculating the probabilities," he says.
Think of all the things that have to come together before this actually would happen, he says...

...The point is, this whole chain of events is rare, Hurd says. It's not a big danger to the public. "All published, peer-reviewed scientific articles to date have demonstrated negligible risk from on-farm antibiotic use," he says.

Gail Hansen, a veterinarian who is now working with the Pew Health Group and a critic of antibiotic use on the farm, is unimpressed by Hurd's analysis. "If you just look at - does this antibiotic, given to this animal, make this person sick, so we can't treat them with that same antibiotic - that's such a very narrow piece of this whole interconnected puzzle," she says.

First of all, this kind of case may not happen often, but it's a big deal if it happens to you, she says.

Much more follows. It is a long report.