Hidden Antibiotics

March 16, 2009 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Ever wonder what really goes on at the factory farms where meat is processed. It’s gruesome and horrifying to even a meat-lover. For someone like me who’s hopelessly devoted to animal life, you can imagine what I would think. Quite a few times in the last week, I’ve felt sick to my stomach because of the things that I’ve learned about Factory Farming. I’ve been reading this book called “Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm” it highlights the treatment of the animals in the farms from birth to slaughter and details the wonderful practices that we’ve developed to produce mass quantities of meat for Americans to consume daily. Needless to say, I’m more glad than ever that I don’t eat meat.

Some of those around me have been asking why the heck I’m reading this book that makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn. Well, I’d like to know the truth, even if it truth is terrible. I’d rather really know what’s going on and be well-informed about the food that I am (or am not) eating. I think that everyone should know where their food comes from. Food sustains you, feeds you, pleases you, de-stresses you. Food is an essential part of ALL of our lives. Not a single person in this world can live without it and most couldn’t imagine a world without the foods that they enjoy day to day.

So why shouldn’t you know what happens to that food from conception to the time it touches your plate? I want to know the ingredients in things that I eat. I choose foods based on the ingredients that they have in them; my cereal only has whole wheat in it, as does my bread.  I choose produce that is fresh and beautiful and ripe. I drink juices that are wholesome and do not contain any funny ingredients… But for some foods, there is no ingredient list. In beef, we assume that what we’re getting is PURE beef. Chicken and pork, too. We assume that when we eat it, we’re being given the pure chicken/steer/pig and not anything funny.

Ethics aside, people who are concerned with what goes in their mouths, should really pay attention to the things that go into these animals before they eat them. This is just another reason that I’m glad that I don’t ingest these animals.

We live in homes that are uncluttered, with enough room to sleep and eat and relax comfortably. Animals in factory farm settings are not relaxed. They are packed into cages, most of the time without room to move one step forward or backwards. Sometimes they cannot sit. Most of the time, there isn’t enough room for them to remain clean in their cages, so they are forced to eat, sleep and defecate in the same small space.  Sounds like a dirty lifestyle, right?

Now try to remember how many antibiotics you’ve taken in your life. As a child, we take many medicines to help rid us of sickness. Us, the comfortable humans in clean homes. We now face the problem of having taken so many antibiotics that the sicknesses that we catch are growing tolerant of the antibiotics that we take. Now, try to imagine how sick these farm animals get. Now, the amount of antibiotics that they might receive as a result of being constantly bombarded by other animals and unable to separate their living space from their foul, excrement ridden space. How many antibiotic do you think that they might receive if we only treated them for every sickness that manifested.

Farmers are inclined, however, to inject these animals full of antibiotics as a preventative measure, to try and keep the animals from becoming sick. In order to do this, they have to inject these animals with quite a bit of medicine, constantly and sometimes multiple antibiotics to combat illnesses that have developed tolerance to the primary medicine or may not by affected by it naturally.

When you eat that animal, you’re eating all those delicious antibiotics that have been constantly injected into these animals. It might not sound so bad, right? You’re getting medicine from eating chicken  Tastes a whole lot better than the liquid stuff… but think of this. They pump these animals full of antibiotics, sometimes just enough to keep them looking healthy before they’re sent to slaughter. Not only are you eating all those antibiotics, you’re also eating all the illnesses in the animals that are still present because they’ve become tolerant of the antibiotics overused in these farms. When you contract this illness, it’s already tolerant to treatments, and so the antibiotics that your doctor might give you prove to be ineffective. Still think it sounds delicious?

And there’s your food for thought. Yum.



Entry filed under: vegan, vegetarian. Tags: , , , , , , .

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