Thursday, July 14, 2011

Victoria's Green Matters 13th July

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
We may think that there are many threats to our safety in the modern world; there may be terrorist attacks, nuclear meltdown and climatic disasters but much greater threats exist from the unseen enemies that are bacteria and viruses.

There was a disturbing report last week concerning the continuing use of antibiotics by the farming industry in this country. The numbers of livestock have fallen over the last ten years but the use of antibiotics has still risen. Pressures to produce cheap and plentiful food by the supermarkets has led to too many animals being reared in cramped conditions where infections are easily passed around. To reduce these infections, antibiotics are routinely administered. It is widely accepted that this use of antibiotics has led to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, including the recent outbreak of E.coli in Germany. This outbreak has claimed 39 lives and a further 3,300 people still require hospital treatment. The regular use of antibiotics has meant that the bacteria that can infect humans have developed resistance to these drugs. Infections that we look upon as routine, to be easily treated, such as pneumonia and TB, will again become fatal and simple appendix operations will be lethal as they were as recently as 1927.

Factory farming is a threat to our health but the over-prescription of antibiotics by some doctors must also be considered. Patients neglecting to take a full course of treatment also encourage antibiotic resistance.

We can all do something to stop these practices. If we refuse to eat cheap, imported meat and eat meat from sources we know to be free from antibiotics, we can get the message across. Unfortunately, we are up against big business once more but we have campaigned before and won, so we can do it again.

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