Chicken threat grows
Chicken threat growsPoultry producers increase use of antibiotics
UK poultry producers have increased their use of antibiotics related to drug-resistant bacterial infections
At www.viva.org.uk/faceoff we report on our undercover investigation into egg farms and previous investigations have revealed the appalling overcrowding and filth of broiler chicken farms. Despite decades of warnings about the cruelty of these places and the threat they pose to health, the industry has remained deaf and disinterested.
Their widespread use of antibiotics to try and control diseases has been linked with the growth of deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The situation has just got worse. Far from reducing their use, figures from the British Poultry Council show that UK poultry producers have increased their use of antibiotics related to drug-resistant bacterial infections.
The use of Fluoroquinolones, used to treat deadly salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli in humans, increased by 59 per cent between 2013 and 14. They were banned for poultry-rearing in 2005 in the US.
In the 1960s, Professor Michael Swann produced a parliamentary report insisting that antibiotics used for human diseases should not be used in animals. His recommendations were emasculated and watered down and now, 50 years later, he is still being ignored, to the sound of hand-wringing about antibiotic resistance.
Steak threat too
A report on antibiotic resistance has accused the farming industry of increasing the threat to humans by pumping animals full of antibiotics. Commissioned by the Government, the report warns that the use of antibiotics in agriculture has become “a critical threat to public health and one of the ways in which people could become infected is by eating poorly cooked or rare meats, such as steak.”
Report chairman, Lord Jim O’ Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, said “staggering” levels of antibiotic prescribing in modern farming methods was increasing risks to humans.
He said: “I find it staggering that in many countries most of the consumption of antibiotics is in animals, rather than humans.”
He added, “My advice to consumers is that they have to make sure they cook it (meat) properly… you have to be aware of where it’s coming from.” Well, that’s going to work, isn’t it!
Prof Laura Piddock, Professor of Microbiology, University of Birmingham, said:
“Over the last 25 years, academics have repeatedly called for a reduction in global antimicrobial use in animals reared for food production. Unfortunately, our calls have fallen on deaf ears.”