Letter to the Editor

Antibiotic dependence a problem

Friday, March 19, 2010

To the Editor:

Antibiotic dependence in Hoosier confined animal feeding operations is consequential.

Agricultural antibiotic use contributes to resistant bacterial infections in humans, which the CDC ranks as "top concern ... worldwide."

What we do in Indiana impacts the entire world.

Scientists say decreasing antimicrobial use "in human medicine alone will have little effect on the current situation of growing antibiotic resistance" and "substantial efforts must be made to decrease inappropriate overuse in animals and agriculture."

"Widespread use promotes antibiotic resistance."Livestock production accounts for over 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. All CAFOs depending on antibiotics are proportionally responsible.

CDC does not link antibacterial chemicals in cleaning products with bacterial resistance. These products, not proven preventative, might even promote infection by destroying normal flora protection.

Antibiotics also destroy the flora of animals, especially in digestive, urinary and respiratory tracts. Expensive, technological CAFO environmental sterility is required due to compromised immunity with high risk for disease. Such measures serve productivity, not health.

High productivity is not a sufficient health indicator, but CAFO dependence on antibiotics red flags animals with severely compromised immunity. In a sustainable environment given food natural to their species, animals rarely require antibiotics.

Some "radicals" demand precautionary moratoriums on CAFO use of prophylactic antibiotics. It is not revolutionary, but prudent, to know the source, and diet, of the animals you eat.

The Rev. Marian Patience Harvey, RN and BSN

Health Educator, Terminal Midwife