Due to a precedent-setting move by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center and a recent almost-unanimous vote by the Academic Senate of the university, over 650,000 meals served to hospital patients each year will now be free of meat that has been treated with antibiotics.
“There is overwhelming scientific consensus that overuse of antibiotics in livestock is a health hazard to people,” remarked Dr. Thomas Newman, a member of the Senate.
Livestock are often fed everything from penicillin to macrolide to ensure their health, but often to the detriment of the people who consume their meat.
Ranchers and farmers discovered several decades ago that feeding their livestock just small doses of these antibiotics could fatten them up for market, and bring in larger profits. This practice isn’t often publicized, so many people are unaware of the practice. A doctor who has studied this subject Stuart B. Levy, M.D., estimates that there are 15-17 million pounds of antibiotics used sub-therapeutically in the United States each year.
What happens when humans eat antibiotic-infused meat, is that certain bacteria in the animal becomes resistant to the antibiotic and grows stronger. We consume those unsavory bacteria and can become very ill, and then trying to treat us with antibiotics becomes impossible. This situation is much like the super-weeds that are growing due to the over-use of Monsanto’s GMO poison, Roundup, the good bacteria cannot over-run the bad. We then create super-bugs that are resistant to any type of treatment.
Opposing this argument is Dr. Margaret Mellon, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, “There is no evidence that antibiotic resistance is not a problem, but there is insufficient evidence as to how big a problem it is.” If this were true, why did methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) get a foothold in the 1960s ? The overuse of antibiotics in general has already caused several cases of superbugs.
It is no surprise that hospitals are interested in changing their meat procurement practices, since the primary means of treating an ill person in the hospital is either through surgery or pharmaceutical drugs, but what does this issue of Super Bugs have in common with Super Weeds? It seems quite obvious that messing with Mother Nature results in some pretty fantastic tragedy for the human race.