Superbugs lurk in local food systems
When you think of antibiotics, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a doctor prescribing treatment to a sick person. But the vast majority of antibiotics used are actually given to animals on factory farms. This overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural sector is fuelling a global health crisis, with antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” killing more than one hundred Thais every day.
Antibiotics are the silent props of the factory farm system, preventing stressed, confined animals from otherwise getting sick due to the dismal conditions they live in. Around 131,000 tonnes of antibiotics each year are used in farming globally, comprising three quarters of the antibiotics produced in the world and the amount is expected to rise to 300,000 tonnes in 2030, according to an academic article entitled “Reducing antimicrobial use in food animals” published in the journal Science in 2017.
There is now abundant research showing how this overuse of antibiotics in farming is a leading cause of “superbugs”, and that these superbugs are infecting workers and spreading into the food supply chain and our environment.
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