Living on a college campus, students living and interacting in such close quarters always seem to be sick. When a student gets sick, they are urged to go to the Health Center as soon as possible to get medicine to keep them from being sick and prevent them from spreading the disease to other students. In my experience, I have been prescribed antibiotics not because the doctor was sure of my illness, but preventatively just incase I had a bad bacteria in my body.
Like we have talked about in class, this phenomenon is very similar to the way many farmers treat animals on factory farms; a dangerous pattern for society. On these farms, animals, much like Davidson students, are given antibiotics preventatively, to keep them from contacting any diseases that would make them unable to be slaughtered. With animals living in close and dirty quarters, bacteria is almost inevitable, so farmers keep animals from getting sick by pumping antibiotics through their systems.
When animals are fed antibiotics, however, they also excrete these antibiotics, releasing them into soil and water, therefore making it extremely easy for other animals or humans to ingest these same antibiotics without even knowing. Similarly, when human eat animals that were pumped with antibiotics throughout their lives, these antibiotics can be passed into the human’s body. The problem with this circulation of antibiotics is that when someone is exposed to an antibiotic too many times, the bacteria can build up resistance within one’s system, making the antibiotic ineffective.
One bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics is Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA has been found on farms with animals and also is a common and easily contracted disease for humans. Because the antibiotic no longer works, antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA are very difficult to treat.
The solution to this problem lies in only giving animals and people less antibiotics if the diagnosis is sure and living preventatively to avoid these bacteria. If animals live more freely and healthier in open space, instead of cooped up on a breading ground for disease. Perhaps humans need to be more careful of what they are actually eating; a chicken at the grocery store might actually be giving you more than you bargained for!
For more information, visit: http://www.sustainabletable.org/716/antibiotics-if-this-doesn-t-convince-you-nothing-will