As some of you may already know from our recent Facebook post, www.consumewithcare.org is incredibly fortunate and grateful to be the recipient of a grant from the animal protection organisation Voiceless. We will be using the money to spread our message of conscious consumption to the wider community, so we’re looking forward to a very busy and successful 2014.
At the Voiceless awards ceremony, attendees were given a copy of a book called ‘Unsustainable Cruelty’ by the Australian PhotoJournalist (supported by Voiceless), which contains a collection of photos and essays on a range of topics exploring the way in which humans mistreat animals in the name of food, entertainment and science. It is an essay by Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer that I would like to share with you here.
In his essay Foer argues that eating factory farmed animals and their products is actually making us sick. One of the main reasons for this is the over-use of antibiotics on factory farms, which causes antibiotic resistance.
Unlike antibiotic use in in humans, which is controlled through prescriptions, animals on factory farms are fed antibiotics routinely, often on a daily basis. This is made necessary by the poor living conditions and intense confinement in which factory farmed animals live, which makes them highly susceptible to a range of illnesses.
According to Foer, scientists have been warning against the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in farm animal feed since the 1960s but to no avail. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US and another study published in the New England Journal of medicine have confirmed that antibiotic resistance is rising rapidly and have linked this to the use of anitbiotics in farm animals.
Institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association and the CDC have called for a ban of non-therapeutic antibiotics on factory farms but so far they have been no match for the might of the extremely powerful agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.
Another major risk to human health from factory farms, Foer argues, is the emergence of zoonotic diseases, that is those spread from human to animal or from animal to human (think swine and bird flu). Scientists from organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, WHO and the US Department of Agriculture have all concluded that factory farming is a major cause of the increased risk for these types of diseases. Foer warns that we must choose between cheap food or our health.
Finally, Foer reminds us of the extremely important role each and every one of us plays in helping to put an end to factory farming for the sake of the animals and our own health when he says “ What is the source of the industry’s immense power? We give it to them.” As individuals we all can help put an end to the suffering of factory farmed animals by refusing to buy food produced in this way.
So, please check out our website to find out which higher animal welfare choices we recommend and remember to always consume with care!