Every single day, factory farms feed their animals low doses of antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent disease in filthy, crowded living conditions. In fact, the factory farming industry uses 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. And now, the medical community is warning that the medicines we’ve been relying on since the 1940s may no longer work when we need them.
I started working on our grassroots efforts to protect the effectiveness of antibiotics last fall. At first, I was excited about the opportunity to fight the corporate abuse of our food system. But the more I read, and the more people I talked to, I was struck by how deeply personal and serious this issue really is. It’s not just about fixing our food system — it’s about saving lives.
Hearing stories from people like Marian really put this issue into perspective for me. Marian is a mother in Seattle who always eats good food, yet after a simple burn on her foot, found herself with a crippling antibiotic-resistant infection that’s made it hard for her to care for her family. The unfortunate reality is that antibiotic-resistant infections can affect anyone, no matter what you eat, where you work or how old you are.
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The current state of antibiotics is alarming, but it’s not all bad. Since I started working on this effort, I’ve seen communities come together to take local action, and decision makers waking up and taking notice. From Providence to Seattle, we’ve passed local resolutions in communities across the United States to protect antibiotics. And we’re just getting started.
The meat industry plays by its own rules when it comes to antibiotics, while everyone else suffers the consequences. But this public health crisis is preventable. Food & Water Watch is about to launch a national effort to stop the meat industry’s misuse of antibiotics. We’re pushing for federal action that will clean up factory farms and save lives. But before we get going, we need your feedback.
If antibiotic resistance has personally affected you, help us build this campaign to stop their misuse by sharing your story.