Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Brave New Farm?

Once, the farm was thought of as a place of peace and ethical practices. Today, this is a skewed view of the reality that is the factory farm. In "Brave New Farm?" Mason and Finelli mention that factory principles stay the same: keep costs down and manipulate animals' productivity upward. This principle entails maintaining drug-laced, unnatural diets. NPR's recent article, "FDA Wants To Pull Back The Curtain, Slightly, On Farm Antibiotics," adds that farmers and public health advocates have been arguing for many years now about the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The main source of information about antibiotic use on farms comes from an annual report from the FDA, but contains no information about how these drugs are used or on which types of farms. The article explains:
"This leads to some curious discrepancies. Tyson Foods, the nation's largest producer of chicken meat, said that its poultry producers have cut their use of antibiotics by 80 percent over the past two years. Perdue, another large poultry company, has announced large cuts in antibiotic use. Yet the FDA's national totals for all animals show a steady increase in antibiotic use, at least through the most recent report, with includes data from 2013. So what's going on? Is antibiotic use declining in poultry, but rising in other animals? The FDA wants to find out. Under a new proposal,  drug companies would have to disclose whether the antibiotics they sell are intended for use in cattle, pigs, chickens or turkeys." Why haven't these drug companies accounted for where their antibiotics are sold and used? The large poultry companies seem to be hiding under the use of "less" antibiotics in their products, but other meat products are no exception.

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