Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Superbugs in Livestock - America Mobilises

The benefits of a genuinely free press!

It has always been clear that the superbug crisis in Britain's livestock was not going to be exposed by the veterinary establishment or the trade media. Both are too directly or indirectly dependant on drug sales to do more than hinder or oppose exposure.

Britain's corrupt farming ministry, MAFF-Defra, was going to do nothing but sit on their hands, stitch together misleading statistics, issue self-congratulatory media releases and arrange or encourage the harassment of critics, not least witnesses to Parliament at Westminster.

It was going to be the mainstream media driven by expert journalists, outside Britain and almost certainly in the USA who would blow the worst scandal of the 21st century for Britain.

The American pig industry is now reeling from the constant undermining of pig health by Porcine Circovirus and the increasing devastation from PEDv.

Maryn McKenna, author of 'Superbug', correctly deduces that the time has arrived for reform with the essential prerequisite of a well briefed main media now hot on the trail.

As always, read the whole article.


Antibiotic Overuse on Farms: Is the Opinion Tide Turning?

BY MARYN MCKENNA 11.04.135:20 PM

It’s been a busy few weeks here at Casa Superbug — including some conference appearances, more on them later — so the first thing I’d like to do is point out some things that appeared while I was offline.
Notably: In editorials, three newspapers recently challenged the way antibiotics are used on farms and asked why we can’t do better.

Most important, because it has the biggest circulation: USA TODAY, which on Oct. 27 asked:

Want to ensure that miracle drugs can no longer perform miracles?

Then do what some physicians and industrial livestock farmers have
done for years: Overprescribe antibiotics to people, and use them
cavalierly in farm animals to promote growth or prevent infections
before they even occur.

The piece, ascribed to USA TODAY’s editorial board, is skeptical of
the FDA’s plan for voluntary control of growth-promoter antibiotics in
livestock raising:...

...A few weeks earlier, the San Jose Mercury News was even more blunt. in a piece headlined “Stop pumping farm animals full of antibiotics” and also written by its editorial board, that paper said:

When historians look back on our time, one question they’re likely to
ask is this: How could people have been so stupid as to cripple the
lifesaving power of antibiotics by letting farmers pump cows, pigs and
chickens full of them?

It’s a clear case of putting profits before people’s lives, and if the
FDA and Congress won’t act, California should show them how...

...The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif. made similar points with a similar call for action:

The nation’s food supply should not add to public health risks. Yet
the overuse of antibiotics on farms contributes to the growing
weakness of these drugs and the rise of treatment-resistant bacteria.
Congress needs to limit agriculture’s use of antibiotics in healthy
animals, as a public safeguard…

...It’s not uncommon for the op-ed pages of newspapers to feature calls for action. Op-eds, unlike editorials, are written by interested third parties. But when a newspaper speaks from the editorial page, it is speaking with the voice of the paper’s brand and the power of its circulation. Papers usually reserve that firepower for issues of real public importance. That three newspapers did that in the course of a few weeks suggests to me that public opinion may be turning against ag overuse of antibiotics for real.