THE UNPRECEDENTED RISE IN ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
To help animals achieve a desirable weight before being sent to the slaughterhouse, farmers will often give animals antibiotics and hormonal therapy (34) This has led to “world-changing risk to public health” on our hands due to excess use of antibiotics, hormones, and other synthetic pharmaceuticals to animals (35). At present, 81% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to livestock for non-therapeutic purposes (36), while 10% are for therapeutic human purposes, and 9% are for pets. There are serious long-term consequences from flippant, round-the-clock antibiotic administration practices since antibiotic-resistance pathogens develop within two to three years of introducing a new antibiotic to the marketplace (37).
Note that two processes are occurring simultaneously: drug-resistant bacteria surviving in livestock and drug-resistant bacteria surviving in humans who eat said livestock products that contain leftover antibiotic resides (38-44). Drug-resistant bacteria and their conquered antibiotic residues enter the food supply together. Both are exposures that put people at risk for developing illnesses caused by drug resistant strains of bacteria and viruses such as Coronavirus COVID-19. Such infections can potentially be fatal when conventional treatment protocol are now often rendered less effective (37).
The unprecedented rise in life-threatening infections, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is due to the fact that we are addicted to excess animal protein consumption and are running out of reliable and effective antibiotics to treat these infections (45,46). As a result, various bacterial and viral infections are becoming nearly untreatable in humans (47). Nevertheless, CAFOs’ antibiotic procedures continue business as usual.
This phenomenon is well supported in the scientific literature.
The two most common gram-negative bacterial species studied, Campylobacter and Salmonella are naturally found in soil but not conductive to animal and human health. They are now easily infecting animals, and being passed from animals to humans predominantly in animal protein consumption. Antimicrobial resistance against multiple antibiotics in swine, cattle, and other animals has been highly correlated with resistance in humans (49).
Moreover, one doesn’t even have to eat these food products to be negatively impacted, per se. Living near high-density pig operations is associated with methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (i.e. MRSA) (50). If it’s in the air, it’s eventually inhaled into your body.
It’s likely we don’t know the full scope CAFOs have on the emergence of drug resistance, especially when you consider groundwater infiltration, cross-contamination, and packaging contamination. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) conservatively estimates that 23,000 United States citizens die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections (46), but actual deaths may be four times higher (51,52).
Of the two million Americans who develop antibiotic-resistant infections annually, prolonged illness is common, and patients may suffer lifelong repercussions after the onset of the illness (i.e. disfigurement, chronic pain, and disablement). Beyond the individual impact, antibiotic resistance is unique in that is poses a threat to national and economic security (53).
Be smarter. Vote with your dollar and do not support CAFOs for you and your family’s sake. The decisions we make today will impact every generation to come.
Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health and that of the Planet.
Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns. And we take it a step further. We understand how you fit into the environment around you. We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans—a plan that removes a lot of the common food items that are making them sick. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.