June 4, 2009
Washington, DC Metro riders are taking notice today of a new advertising campaign promoting publicizing the misuse of antibiotics in the food animal production. The ads will be popping up this week and throughout June at the Capitol South and Union Station Metro stops as well as on red and blue/orange line trains.
The ad campaign echoes the recommendations of the Pew Commission Report on Industrial Farm Animal Production, that the overuse of antibiotics in the production of food animals is unnecessary and compromising their effects in treatment of humans. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical groups point to antibiotic resistances as an alarming threat to public health.
The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming reiterates the impacts of overuse of antibiotics:
- Up to 70 percent of U.S. antibiotics go to farm animals that aren’t sick, to offset overcrowding and poor sanitation. This practice promotes the development of deadly strains of drug-resistant bacteria that can spread to humans.
- Consumers are exposed to resistant bacteria through the handling and consumption of contaminated meat, through produce that has been exposed to resistant bacteria in soil and water, or even through direct contact with the bacteria in the environment.
- Antibiotic-resistant infections cost the U.S. health care system at least $4 to $5 billion per year. One reason is the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms, which promotes the development of drug-resistant diseases.
- Each year 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths occur due to people eating food contaminated by dangerous pathogens and bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli, which are often antibiotic resistant.
- Food-borne bacteria are more dangerous in their antibiotic-resistant forms, because they are harder to treat and may require multiple antibiotic treatments, longer hospital stays and other interventions before finally being eliminated.