Adele Douglass Interview with Whole Foods Magazine

An excerpt of the article follows:

Antibiotic resistance is becoming a large concern for public health. Factory farm animals tend to be sicker due to overcrowding, less exercise and diets that encourage bacterial infections (more on this, a bit later). According to a recent study, “The industrialization of livestock production and the widespread use of non-therapeutic antimicrobial growth promotants has intensified the risk for the emergence of new, more virulent or more resistant microorganisms. These have reduced the effectiveness of several classes of antibiotics for treating infections in humans and livestock” (1).

On June 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance advising more judicious use of antibiotics in livestock, stating that antibiotic overuse “poses a serious threat to public health,” calling out the overuse of antibiotics for growth-promoting and production purposes as not in the interest of protecting and promoting the public health. FDA has tried to address this issue in the past, but the heavy hands of corporate agriculture have prevented action. As The New York Times aptly puts it, “In the battle between public health and agriculture, the guys with the cowboy hats generally win” (2).

Adele Douglass, executive director of Humane Farm Animal Care, Herndon, VA, says, “If the animals are raised humanely, and not in confinement situations, they do not need to be fed diets with antibiotics in them to prevent disease. Antibiotics should be used only when an animal is sick. Antibiotic use in animals needs to be regulated; they should only be prescribed by a veterinarian, and not be available at the feed store.”

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