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Our Decrepit Food Factories, or, Diseased Pigs

December 2007

Our Decrepit Food Factories, or, Diseased Pigs:

The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that at least 70 percent of the antibiotics used in America are fed to animals living on factory farms. Raising vast numbers of pigs or chickens or cattle in close and filthy confinement simply would not be possible without the routine feeding of antibiotics to keep the animals from dying of infectious diseases. That the antibiotics speed up the animals' growth also commends their use to industrial agriculture, but the crucial fact is that without these pharmaceuticals, meat production practiced on the scale and with the intensity we practice it could not be sustained for months, let alone decades.

Our Decrepit Food Factories

The problem, of course, being that – as the article describes – use of antibiotics leads to super-bugs immune to antibiotics; these bugs already infect a huge number of pigs and appear to be killing large numbers of humans.