More Bad News About Factory Farms

MRSA, or multidrug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is the supper bug increasingly found in hospitals and nursing homes, one that does not respond, or responds poorly, to antibiotic treatment, and is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths each year.

Although there was general agreement that the spread is caused by the overuse and/or abuse of antibiotics, for example people who stopped taking their medication when their symptoms cleared, there wasn’t always agreement as to how these bugs got into hospitals to begin with, we may now know.

If you have been following this blog, it should be no surprise that intensive animal feeding operations on factory farms are partially to blame. Antibiotics are routinely added to animal feed to increase weight and fend off the spread of illnesses that result for intense confinement and living in unsanitary conditions.

In a study comparing employees who work in industrial livestock operations (ILO) like factory farms, against employees who worked on farms that did not routinely use antibiotics (AFLOs –  or antibiotic free livestock operations) only those who worked in ILOs were found to harbor MRSA and MDRSA (tetracycline-resistant, CC398, scn-negative).

Think about it this way, a person who is a factory farm worker could contaminate a healthcare facility with a deadly virus simply by going there. He or she would not even need to be a patient. If they touch anything, or sneeze or cough, that could be enough to spread the disease, not to mention they themselves could become ill from it.

You unknowingly contribute to the problem if you buy animal products that come from factory farms, estimated to be 99.9% of the meat on super market shelves. Your purchase is essentially telling factory farm owners that you don’t care if they add drugs to their products. If you do care, and we hope you do, you should either ditch the meat, and be healthier for it, or buy from certified humane animal producers who only use antibiotics if an animal is actually sick.

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