Saturday, July 7, 2012

Following Denmark's example - Cleaning up the meat industry by monitoring antibiotic use

Antibiotics are used both by people and within the farming industry, to quickly decimate bacteria and micro-organism cultures that may degrade health. They are, however, an over simplified "solution" that is used in place of solving the underlying problem. One problematic effect of their use is the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can be created both by human or animal use, as well as spread between them once it is created. Taking the not-so-risky plunge Over 10 years ago, in Denmark, the country's poultry industry voluntarily pulled the plug on the use of antibiotics. Because the chemicals are used to make the animals grow faster and produce more meat, the decision was one that confused many business-oriented observers. The choice would put limitations on the industry's productivity that would foster a disadvantage against other industry producers. Only two years later, Denmark's pork industry made the same change. While Denmark's poultry production largely stays within the country's boarders, the country is the largest exporter of pork in the world. This got the meat industry's attention. Denmark, however, was not finished with its changes. Over the next few years, through stringent monitoring and removal of incentives for use, the country lowered antibiotic use on large livestock by 60 percent. The industry waited in anticipation of the collapse of Danish meat production. It never happened. Startlingly, production increased by 50 percent. Unrestrained antibiotic use in livestock will dramatically affect the health of consumers Prof. Frank M. Aarestrup, head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Molecular Epidemiology Unit at the Danish National Food Institute, believes that other countries are just as capable of making the change. However, others believe that the biggest barrier may be a cultural one that sets Denmark apart. Within the small country, farmers form a network for open communication, and most are members of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. This, combined with the Danish media's acute coverage of findings made by the scientific and medical communities, allows the primary influence of farming methodology to be up-to-date science, and other farmers in the community. In countries like the United States, antibiotic use is monitored by reports filed by suppliers with the FDA. Farmers are largely dependent on these drug suppliers for information about the risks and benefits. Because they are selling the product, these have a clear conflict of interest, and are self-regulated. The Food and Drug Administration is depending on the word of these suppliers in place of proper regulation and monitoring. Appraisal of the industry indicated that antibiotics are being used both in excess of both recommended and reported levels. Source - www.naturalnews.com

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