Antibiotic Resistance

February 15, 2014 at 11:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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You may wonder what antibiotic resistance has to do with American Catholicism. But the Catholic Church is pro-life, right? As my brief piece below, that appeared previously in the weekly news of the U.S. Grail reports, thousands of people die each year from antibiotic resistant infections, in large part because of the behavior of the factory farm industry.  Surely a pro-life church would be opposed to that, and its clergy would be speaking forcefully against it from their pulpits!


On Christmas Eve, I got a pain in my right index finger. The next day, the finger had swollen up like a cigar and hurt something awful. Luckily, the antibiotic that the doctor prescribed cured the infection in a few days. But not everybody is so lucky. Resistance to antibiotics is a growing problem. Each year, at least two million Americans fall ill – and 23,000 die – from antibiotic-resistant infections (AR)

One of the causes of AR is doctors prescribing unneeded antibiotics–for colds, for example. But another major cause is low-dose antibiotics fed to cattle, pigs and chicken on factory farms to speed their growth and increase profits. Currently, 80 per cent of the antibiotics in the US are used on food animals. A fact sheet on the Food and Water Watch website details the problem.

In December, the FDA at least acknowledged this by issuing a “voluntary regulation that urges drug companies and agriculture corporations to apply a standard of ‘judicious use’ when distributing antibiotics to food animals.” The Natural Resources Defense Council and others argue that this move is inadequate because it still allows giving antibiotics to healthy animals to prevent disease-a loophole that could continue indiscriminate use. (“Preventive” antibiotic use is common in factory farms where crowded conditions cause diseases to spread rapidly.)

To prevent the steady increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria, it’s crucial that Congress regulate the unneeded use of antibiotics in food animals. Please sign the Food and Water Watch petition to your members of Congress expressing your support of House and Senate bills to do exactly that.

(Note that this post is way under 500 words!)


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  1. I heard Amy Goodman highlighting this important topic in one of her Democracy Now programs but appreciate your bringing it up too, Marian! There’s a reason for that old cliche about money being at the root of all evil.


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