Why We Need to Get All Chickens Off All Drugs

Chicken-pill-Alexander-Winch-2015We’re almost getting used to it by now: chicken producers and restaurant chains are flocking to get antibiotics out of their food chains. A rash of large food corporations have been announcing their plans to cut the use of human antibiotics in their chickens. Major headlines in the last year include: “McDonald’s Moving to Limit Antibiotic Use in Chickens,” “Perdue Says Its Hatching Chicks Are Off Antibiotics,” “Tyson: Nix Human Antibiotics in Chickens by 2017.”

And it’s a good thing, too: the misuse of antibiotics is of major concern in the ever-escalating problem of antibiotic resistance. Read More >

‘Take the Pharma Out of Farming,’ says Chipotle Founder

Check out Chipotle Founder Steve Ells’ write-up in yesterdays Huffington Post. Says Ells, “Many might think that a restaurant chain like ours would not care about this issue. After all, most restaurant companies focus largely on assuring a high-volume food supply, lower production costs, and increasing profits. From an ethical, economic, and public health perspective, pumping animals full of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick is way to cut corners, not a way to forge a sustainable and humane model for food production.

“Federal action to improve the conditions of our factory farms is necessary because these large farms account for the vast majority of meat produced in this country, but their practices carry a number of horrific unintended consequences – from polluting rivers, streams and coastal waters, to air quality problems, and endangering the lives of people by contributing to the proliferation of antibiotic resistant infections. Scientists and public health officials have offered a slew of recommendations to reverse these negative side effects, many of which are presented in a recent Pew Commission report on industrial farm animal production in America.

Ells calls for the public support of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) now before Congress. “I hope that private citizens will support the Act by contacting their local congressional representative. If the legislation passes, it could take as many as two years to phase out this indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics. It’s time to get the process started. Let’s preserve these drugs for the sick animals and humans who need them. Antibiotic use is not a prerequisite to life on the farm, but rather a threat to life itself.”