Friday, June 17, 2011
NYTimes Article- The High Cost of Cheap Meat
Before I started eating a plant-based diet, and even before I stopped considering chips and ice cream to be a good meal (in my teens), it always bothered me to take medication. I always wanted to try riding out a headache, or drinking a glass of water and taking a nap before taking a Tylenol. I always wonder whether I really need it before accepting a prescription from my doctor.
You know what else bothers me? Things out of my control bother me. What if you had a meddlesome mother, who thought it necessary to mix some kind of protein powder into your meals because she thought you needed more protein, or one that was slipping you the newest diet pill and telling you it was a vitamin because she thought you needed to lose weight. For a vegetarian or a vegan parent, the person, whether family or friend, that gives your kid a bite of meat when you aren't looking because they think your child is missing something. People "slipping something past me" bothers me, even if they think it is insignificant.
Below is this article from the NYTimes this month. When reading this kind of thing, I can't believe how little I knew about the food that I was putting in my mouth, and how deceived I feel about all of the "extras" that I was getting that someone thought didn't make a difference. I can't believe that anyone who reads an article like this and sits a while to think about how sickly and diseased it makes the animals seem and takes some time to pull up some images in your head of what is being described, could ever eat meat again. Why would we put something like that in our mouths, let alone be nourished and expect to be healthy when that is what we are betting on?
The High Cost of Cheap Meat
The point of factory farming is cheap meat, made possible by confining large numbers of animals in small spaces. Perhaps the greatest hidden cost is its potential effect on human health.
Small doses of antibiotics — too small to kill bacteria — are fed to factory farm animals as part of their regular diet to promote growth and offset the risks of overcrowding. What factory farms are really raising is antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which means that several classes of antibiotics no longer work the way they should in humans. We pay for cheap meat by sacrificing some of the most important drugs ever developed.
Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council, joined by other advocacy groups, sued the Food and Drug Administration to compel it to end the nontherapeutic use of penicillin and tetracycline in farm animals. Veterinarians would still be able to treat sick animals with these drugs but could not routinely add the drugs to their diets.
For years, the F.D.A. has had the scientific studies and the authority to ban these drugs. But it has always bowed to pressure from the pharmaceutical and farm lobbies, despite the well-founded objections of groups like the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, which support an antibiotic ban.
It is time for the F.D.A. to stop corporate factory farms from squandering valuable drugs just to promote growth among animals confined in conditions that inherently create the risk of disease. According to recent estimates, 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country end up in farm animals. The F.D.A. can change that by honoring its own scientific conclusions and its statutory obligation to end its approval of unsafe drug uses.