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4/5 of Antibiotics Used in United States Given to Healthy Farm Animals

April 13, 2015

According to the Organic Consumer’s Association, antibiotic-resistant bacterial growth could be driven by the factory-farm method of producing animal products and the US meat industry.  Here are some scary statistics presented by the Organic Consumer’s Association:

  • Four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the United States are given to completely healthy farm animals.
  • Force-feeding animals antibiotics helps breed antibiotic-resistant superbugs (bacteria that antibiotics can’t kill). And every year over 70,000 Americans die because of bacterial resistance.
  • The USDA estimates that more than 335 million tons of “dry matter” waste (the portion of waste remaining after water is removed) is produced annually on farms in the United States, representing almost a third of the total municipal and industrial waste produce. Animal feeding operations annually produce about 100 times more manure than the amount of human sewage sludge processed in U.S. municipal wastewater plants. Unlike human waste, the law does not require that livestock waste be treated.
  • Twenty-six billion pounds of beef from 34 million cattle is produced annually in the U.S., more than in any other country.
  • Hog manure has ten to 100 times more concentrated pathogens than human waste. We treat human sewage, but we don’t treat animal waste.
  • The methane releases from billions of imprisoned animals on factory farms are 70 times more damaging per ton to the earth’s atmosphere than CO2, according to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
  • Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than cars, according to a United Nations report.
  • CAFOs release over 400 separate gases, mostly due to the large amounts of manure they produce. The principal gases released are hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide.
  • Twenty-three million pounds of antibiotics are added to animal feed every year, to make the animals grow faster.
  • The U.S. is the only country that feeds slaughterhouse waste, blood and manure to livestock.
  • Manure can contain pathogens, antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria, hormones, heavy metals and other compounds.
  • Japan inspects 100 percent of its beef for mad cow disease; the European Union inspects 25 percent; the U.S. inspects less than one percent.

No one has spoken up yet to discuss the fact that we know that giving animals antibiotics makes them gain weight faster, but giving people antibiotics through the animal meat and to treat illness might make them gain weight faster, too.  Routine animal use of antibiotics causes weight gain, and aren’t we humans animals?

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