CDC Claims Antibiotic Use on Farms Poses Grave Human Health Concerns

The Centers for Disease Control released a headline-grabbing report Monday conservatively stating that over two million Americans get sick and at least 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria per year and that "widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture has resulted in increased resistance in infections in humans."

The government estimates that more than 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to farmed animals to make them grow more rapidly and prevent them from getting sick as a result of living in filthy, cramped conditions. Through consumption of both animal products and plant crops fertilized with animal feces, antibiotics fed to farmed animals lead to increased human resistance to important drugs.

The 114-page report asserts that "much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and makes everyone less safe." CDC Director Thomas Frieden is calling for an urgent change of course in the use of antibiotics: "We will soon be in a post-antibiotic era if we're not careful."

The prospect of common and currently highly treatable infections, such as skin and urinary tract infections, becoming fatal is truly frightening. Moreover, "organ transplants, joint replacements, cancer therapies and the use of catheters, respirators and other invasive procedures and devices would be impossible because of the risk of infection," according to "The San Francisco Chronicle."

For more than 30 years, efforts in Congress to restrict the use of antibiotics in animal farming have failed due to the influence of the multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical and livestock industry lobbies.

Not only are people getting sick as a result of the drugs fed to farmed animals, they are suffering other health consequences of meat, dairy and egg consumption, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and increased risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Some doctors are actually prescribing fruits and vegetables instead of pharmaceuticals to help their patients combat obesity and the ill health effects associated with it.

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