Meat Meets Medicine

My local grocery store, like many around the country, has a pharmacy inside. This pharmacy, like many around the country, happens to be situated next to the meat section. Normally, I think nothing of this juxtaposition. That was, until I stopped by the store the other night around 11pm to pick up a few essentials. I headed to the back of the store and there before me, squarely in front of the meat section, was a huge sign advertising free antibiotics.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud (and cry a little on the inside).

“There’s some refreshing honesty,” I thought .  Most of the meat available in grocery stores around the country contains antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  This is because of non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animal production–a practice that is pervasive in this country, and has been found to result in antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans.  The Union of Concerned Scientists “has estimated that 70% of all antibiotics and related drugs in the United States are used for non-therapeutic purposes (growth promotion and routine disease prevention) in cattle, swine, and poultry.”

Why are essential human medicines going to animals that aren’t actually sick? And why should we care? Read More >