Why I'm An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

Why I'm An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Before I was an animal rights activist, I was a budding human rights activist. While in law school, I helped victims of domestic violence obtain personal protection orders. I studied human rights and refugee law, participated in an asylum clinic, spent all my summer legal internships working with refugee organizations and focused primarily on helping women who were victims of gender-based persecution and violence such as honor crimes, forced genital mutilation, sex-trafficking, and rape. 

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ARTICLE:

It is hard to measure pain. Usually with humans we just ask them how much pain they feel and they tell us. But when they can't tell us, we look for external signs of pain such as trying to get away from the source of pain, vocalizing (yelling, crying), grimacing or shaking to name a few. Nonhuman animals demonstrate all of these same signs. If we can bear not to look away, it is plain to see that the egg laying hens crammed into battery cages, or the sows confined to gestation creates so small that can't turn around, or the dairy cows being dragged to slaughter because they are too lame to walk all suffer tremendously.

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Dairy Giant Saputo to Refuse Milk From Farmers Who Mistreat Animals

Dairy Giant Saputo to Refuse Milk From Farmers Who Mistreat Animals

A Canadian dairy giant says it will no longer buy milk from farmers who mistreat their animals.

Quebec-based Saputo, one of the largest dairy processors in the world, announced its new policy Tuesday in the wake of an undercover video last year that showed workers at one of its suppliers viciously beating cattle.

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Join the Fast Against Slaughter on Oct 2

Join the Fast Against Slaughter on Oct 2

Join the Fast Against Slaughter and share your decision with friends on social media to note your commitment to compassion for animals.

Together, tens of thousands will rise on October 2nd to speak the truth about farmed animals. In the historical tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi, we will join together in a one-day Fast Against Slaughter in solidarity with these innocent victims.

Through our voluntary sacrifice of food on this day, we will amplify the voices of the billions of farmed animals suffering around the world. We will inspire others to learn the truth. And we will mobilize a compassionate global community who will not wait for justice, but who will make it a reality.

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Require That Meat Produced From Animals Fed Antibiotics Be Labeled Accordingly

Require That Meat Produced From Animals Fed Antibiotics Be Labeled Accordingly

STEPHEN COMMENT:  More than 168,000 people have signed this petition, directed to Secretary Tom Vilsack and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You should too.

Dave Molidor, the father of a toddler and a newborn, believes, as most of us do, that consumers have a right to make informed choices about the food they’re buying and eating, and that “it’s the job of our government regulatory agencies to help us by properly labeling food that could be harmful.”

The USDA currently does not require that meat produced from animals routinely fed antibiotics be labeled accordingly. This petition seeks to change that.

The focus of faCE ISSUE 3 was the danger to all of us posed by the massive overuse of antibiotics in factory farming. Nicole McCann and Anne Meyer suggest in HUGE “FACTORY” FARMS ARE FAR BIGGER U.S. HEALTH THREAT THAN EBOLA  that this may create “a home-grown medical catastrophe of our own that we’re failing to address: the erosion of antibiotic effectiveness. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat a broad array of infections that can otherwise prove fatal. While the drugs are being grossly overused, diminishing their power to heal, hospitals aren’t to blame — factory farms are.”

 A British Government commissioned review, also part of faCE ISSUE 3, noted that, “Antimicrobial-resistant infections currently claim at least 50,000 lives each year across Europe and the US alone.” The study concludes that “resistance to antibiotics could account for 10 million deaths a year and hit global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent by 2050.”

We must pressure the USDA to correct it’s negligent oversight. Please sign and circulate this petition.

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ARTICLE:

Most antibiotics sold in this country are fed to farmed animals rather than to treat human disease.

These antibiotics are mixed in with the food and water fed to the pigs, cows, and chickens who become the meat we eat. Often these animals are not even sick. Meat companies give low doses of antibiotics to farmed animals because it makes them grow bigger and faster on less food. These animals are also kept in confined and filthy conditions – conditions that would make them very sick if they were not all given these antibiotics preventatively.

Unfortunately, this extensive use of low dose antibiotics is helping to breed resistance in bacteria – leading to the existence of "superbugs."  These superbugs create infections in people that cannot be treated by the antibiotics—and this problem is potentially the leading health crisis in the U.S.

Consumers who want to avoid meat produced with antibiotics have no way to identify such products...

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You Will Never Eat Chicken Again After Reading This

You Will Never Eat Chicken Again After Reading This

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Lindsay Patton writes, “Since we can’t get away from our bodies, we should be thinking about how we treat them throughout the course of our lives. We’re told over and over again to get exercise, not to smoke, keep alcohol intake at a minimum, don’t overeat, etc., etc., etc.  One of the things that’s not mentioned is eating factory farmed meat.”

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ARTICLE:

The luxury we have when it comes to our food is that we don’t get to see how it’s made. We receive it all nicely packaged at the grocery store or market without having to think about how it got there. Ignorance allows us to eat without guilt. Ignorance, however, does not make a change in our eating habits and the food industry.

It’s been well publicized that factory farmed meats and products are filled with growth hormones, bacteria, diseases and antibiotics, and yet, we still consume them. The worst offender in the world of factory farmed meat is the chicken industry.

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Resolutions For 2015: Buy The Change You Want To See In The World

Resolutions For 2015: Buy The Change You Want To See In The World

STEPHEN COMMENT:  It’s so simple it’s brilliant. Realize, as Maryn McKenna does, that your “choices affect the food system.” That “What I eat supports—or discourages—the changes I want to see.”

If you purchase factory farmed meat or diary products, you

·      are supporting this industry’s horrific unconscionable animal cruelty 

·      are consuming food that can put your health at risk 

·      are sustaining and enabling an industry that is, by far, the most environmentally damaging industry on this planet. 

You, and those you feed and care for, each only have one body in this life. 

All of us have just this one planet. As President Obama has said, “There is no Plan B.” Do not purchase factory farmed products. Do not. Don’t.

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ARTICLE:

You know how this goes. Today is the day that you put into practice all those resolutions that have been percolating in your head since you ate that third piece of pie on Christmas Day.

In 2015, you’ll cut out sugar. You’ll enough with the alcohol. You’ll sacrifice sleep, so you can get to the gym. You’ll stop buying junk, stop detouring through the drive-through, stop reading Pinterest because it just makes you want to eat. You’ll do better, by doing less.

I have a different idea.

Like everyone else perched on the cusp of a new year, I fret about how my choices affect my well-being (and, let’s be honest, my dress size too). But as someone researching food policy, I worry as well over how my choices affect the food system: how what I eat supports—or discourages—the changes I want to see.

So instead of phrasing my resolutions as denial, this year I’m framing them as actions I can take on behalf of my health and the food shed’s health as well. And because the biggest way I interact with the food system is to spend money to purchase its products, I’m choosing five categories of foods to buy that I believe can make a difference, and that I want to see thrive.

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4 Signs We're Making Progress In The Fight Against Factory Farming

4 Signs We're Making Progress In The Fight Against Factory Farming

STEPHEN COMMENT:  There has been progress in the fight to end factory farming. Corrine Henn makes four such observations here and notes that “As more people are made aware of the horrible conditions that animals on factory farms are forced to endure, more are choosing not to support this cruel industry.” 

Yes, consumer demand in the United States for meat has dropped since 2007. Yes, hundreds of millions fewer animals are slaughtered each year. However, a greater percentage of animals raised in America today than ever before are factory farm raised.

Take a walk down Candy’s Hall and watch Face Your Food or Glass Walls. Experience or reacquaint yourself with how horribly these animals suffer - for the entirety of their factory-farmed lives. Resolve to do something to help put an immediate end to factory farming.

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ARTICLE:

A factory farm is a large industrialized farm in which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at a minimal cost. Today more than 99% of farm animals are raised in large industrial farms for food.

The growth of industrial farming has transpired in part because there is a lack of government regulation regarding the standards of care and treatment for livestock and animals. Unfortunately, maximizing production at a minimal cost usually comes at the expense of the welfare of the animals living there (not to mention the planet). Most live their entire lives indoors confined to spaces so small they’re unable to turn around and are subject to abuse that would be illegal if they were not considered “commodities” – rather than animals.

As more people are made aware of the horrible conditions that animals on factory farms are forced to endure, more are choosing not to support this cruel industry. When consumers learn the truth about where their cheap animal products come from, they become much less inclined to continue purchasing them. Some are even inspired to take action against the animal agriculture industry.

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Jamie Oliver Needs Your Help Fighting For Food Education

Jamie Oliver Needs Your Help Fighting For Food Education

STEPHEN COMMENT:  In the United States in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were found to be overweight or obese. The percentage continues to increase each year. Each of these children is in immediate risk of cardiovascular disease including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as pre-diabetes and bone-joint problems.  As these children and adolescents grow into adults, they will remain at high risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, a wide range of cancers and osteoarthritis. Millions and millions of children and adolescents.

Prevention is simple: healthy eating and physical activity. Healthy eating, truly healthy eating, is essential.

This is a national tragedy. It is an infinitely costly one. Infinitely – because, while the staggering health care and medical costs caused by the consequences of obesity can be calculated, the cost of a single loss of life, let alone hundreds of thousands of lives, is immeasurable. Add in the consequences of lives shortened, lives lived achieving only limited potential due to physical debilitation, disease, depression, the social and psychological costs of obesity. 

Children grow up with little say in their overall nutrition choices. Many parents remain uninformed about the food choices they continue to make for themselves and their families.

Entrenched corporate interests, big agriculture, the meat industry, the dairy industry, as well as corporations whose brand identity is producing highly processed foods, continue to fight against initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s to introduce pure healthy foods into school lunch programs across the country, and to educate children and families about nutritious organic non-processed foods.

Over 1,500,000 people have signed Jamie Oliver’s petition. His goal is 3,000,000. Let’s help him get there. Quickly and easily, your e-signature can help prompt the G20 governments to take strong initiatives to help fix the problem of childhood and adolescent obesity.

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ARTICLE:

Hi guys, Jamie here.

I urgently need your help to make a real difference. We’re currently facing a global obesity epidemic, with 42 million children under the age of five either overweight or obese across the world. The bottom line is the next generation will live shorter lives than their parents if nothing is done to rectify these alarming stats.

So I’m asking that you do two simple things – first, please sign this petition to show your support for compulsory practical food education in schools across the world, then, most importantly, share it via your social networks.

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Changing Women’s Health One Plate At A Time

Changing Women’s Health One Plate At A Time

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Dr. Debra Shapiro’s advice is right on the mark. “A prescription for women — and a healthier community — can be filled at the dinner table: a satisfying, delicious plant-based meal."

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ARTICLE:

By Dr. Debra Shapiro:   As an ob-gyn, my career has been dedicated to women’s health. While my day job as a physician is to ensure the reproductive health of my patients and the health of their newborns, the physician in me is alarmed by how little regard our society has for taking care of our lifelong health. I’m talking about the staggering public health crisis our nation is facing due to chronic preventable disease. It’s a crisis of epidemic proportions that doesn’t need to be addressed in our nation’s delivery or operating rooms, but rather in our dining rooms. 

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Walmart Announces Sweeping Animal Welfare Policy

Walmart Announces Sweeping Animal Welfare Policy

STEPHEN COMMENT:  It takes a hard hitting campaign grounded in a fundamental, humane truth, and a sustained effort to pressure an intractable retail behemoth like Walmart, with its profit-above-all-else identity, to budge. Mercy For Animals presented senior Walmart executives – and Walmart customers – with unambiguous evidence of a horror story so distasteful: the institutionalized lifelong cruelty and suffering inflicted on hundreds of millions of factory farmed animals. A horror story that Walmart is responsible for perpetuating being one of the nation’s largest purchasers of factory farmed ‘product.’

Mercy For Animals did this so persuasively that Walmart executives elected not to deflect with tepid ‘solutions’ creating the cosmetic appearance that they are concerned about and acting on the problem.

Instead, Mercy For Animals announces that “Walmart has committed to ending many of the cruelest forms of institutionalized animal abuse in its supply chain, including the intensive confinement of pregnant pigs in gestation crates, baby calves in veal crates, and egg-laying hens in battery cages. Walmart is also working to end needless mutilations of animals without painkillers, such as castration, tail docking, and dehorning, and is moving toward less cruel slaughter methods. This is one of the most comprehensive animal welfare policies ever, signaling an important new era and direction for the company and marking a landmark day for the protection of farmed animals in America. “

Congratulations to Mercy For Animals for accomplishing this.

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ARTICLE:

May 22, 2015 — Today, Walmart—the nation’s largest food retailer responsible for 25 percent of grocery sales in the U.S.—announced a groundbreaking commitment to improving farmed animal welfare across its entire global supply chain.

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10 Ways to Support the Next Generation of Farmers

10 Ways to Support the Next Generation of Farmers

STEPHEN COMMENT:  At faCE, we have a vision:  500,000 new sustainable family farmers.

That’s 500,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. At least that many if not more. A return to the days of the 1930’s – 1960’s, to profitable small sustainable farms – farmed in a modern way. Throughout this site are examples of success stories, with links and information on how that’s being accomplished, as well as shout-outs to organizations like Farm Aid dedicated to advocating “fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns designed to defend and bolster family farm-centered agriculture.”

Here are things you can do right now to help support sustainable farms and farmers. Source your own healthy organic foods…

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ARTICLE:

Over the last 30 years, the average age of farmers has steadily increased, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade, leaving a large gap for the next generation to fill. Fortunately, a new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to careers in agriculture. This career path comes with its fair share of hurdles. According to Lindsay Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), “Capital and land top most young farmers’ lists” as their biggest challenges. Here are 10 ways to help the next generation of farmers nourish future consumers:

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Washington: Don't Shield Animal Abusers by Criminalizing Whistleblowers

Washington: Don't Shield Animal Abusers by Criminalizing Whistleblowers

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Welcome to the front lines. Right here. Once you witness undercover footage documenting the horrendous animal cruelty, torture and abuse commonplace among factory farms, livestock markets and throughout this industry, you’ll think twice about spending your money purchasing the products and supporting the businesses of an industry this insidious and contemptible.

Undercover investigators across the United States have, at great personal risk, succeeded in documented these conditions. Their undercover footage has led to criminal charges against workers, to state laws improving animal care and, most significantly, by increasing our awareness of the horror show that the factory farming industry really is. This footage has turned hundreds of thousands of us against factory farming with a passion.

So this industry, rather than finding ways to change, to humanely treat its animals, is promoting legislation nationwide at the state level criminalizing whistleblowing. As Alicia Graef notes in her article, The First Ag Gag Bill of the Year Is Here,  “While a number of states including Montana, Kansas, North Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina and Utah have also passed some form of an ag gag law, many others have tried and thankfully failed. Both Utah and Idaho’s laws are currently being challenged in federal court, and even though some have faced charges under these laws, they’re proving to be difficult to enforce.”

All of us have a right to know that animals are being treated humanely, whether at farms, livestock auctions, or at your neighborhood park. We have a right to know whether or not food safety standards are being upheld for the food we eat. Alicia observes,  “this isn’t just an issue affecting animal lovers who advocate for farm animals. There is also strong opposition from other fronts ranging from food safety to free speech. Despite the ridiculousness of these types of laws, politicians are clearly going to continue to attempt to cater to agribusinesses and shield them from accountability regardless of the chilling impact these laws have on animal welfare, food safety, free speech, workers’ rights and our basic right to know where our food is coming from.”

Please look at this petition. Welcome to the front lines. This is where, quickly and easily, your signature will have an impact forcing humane change.

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ARTICLE:

While ag gag laws in Idaho and Utah are being challenged in federal court, yet another state is taking up the cause to silence whistleblowers who expose cruelty at farms and slaughterhouses. 

Washington state representatives Joe Schmick and J.T. Wilcox have sponsored this year's first attempt at passing an ag gag law with bill HB 1104, which was introduced this week. 

The bill would make it illegal for anyone who "enters an agricultural production facility that is not open to the public and, without the facility owner’s express written consent or pursuant to judicial process or clear statutory authorization, makes audio or video recordings of the assets or conduct of an agricultural production facility’s operations …” and leave anyone found guilty under the law facing misdemeanor charges, with penalties including up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Undercover investigations have played an important role in exposing not only egregious abuse and unsanitary living conditions that farm animals are forced to endure, but have also drawn attention to standard industry practices that don’t fit into the mainstream idea of humane treatment of animals. 

No state should be considering legislation that shields businesses with something to hide at the expense of animal welfare, its residents, consumer safety and the First Amendment.

Please sign the petition asking Washington lawmakers not to support whistleblower suppression legislation.

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PETITION VICTORY: Sodexo - Stop Purchasing Eggs From Battery-Cage Farms

PETITION VICTORY: Sodexo - Stop Purchasing Eggs From Battery-Cage Farms

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Take a look at this. This is a significant victory. Please understand the power of petitions, of legislation, of people uniting behind and taking action for a cause they know is right. Recognize your power as an individual. 

Over 130,000 of us signed this petition. That’s a lot of us. Our numbers are growing exponentially. We won. And we will win again and again until this treatment of animals worldwide becomes a thing of the past.

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ARTICLE:

Feb 19, 2015 — In just a few short weeks, after hearing from hundreds of thousands of people like you, the second largest food service provider in the country is committing to a new animal welfare policy which will affect millions of animals for years to come - total phase-out of eggs from battery cages, banning veal crates, and a new policy on painkillers for dehorning, tail docking, and castration.

This historic victory is one of the largest blows ever to battery cages and sets a new precedent for the industry.

You joined our campaign and made history. You made donations that made this possible. You signed the petition. You posted on Facebook. You tweeted. You made phone calls. YOU NEVER GAVE UP.    AND IT WORKED!

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Ditching in Droves: Why Canadians Are Dropping Milk

Ditching in Droves: Why Canadians Are Dropping Milk

According to seasoned agriculture journalist Ed White, "It's a good time to be an alternative protein." His comment is in response to the growing popularity and demand for non-animal derived meat and dairy products in Canada. 

The growing popularity is, as expected, causing a significant decline in meat and dairy consumption. In fact, consumption of fluid dairy (i.e. milk) has decreased a dramatic 25% in the last 20 years as consumers switch to alternatives such as almond, soy and rice milk.

The decline is so striking that the Dairy Farmers of Canada commissioned a survey to find out why milk drinkers are ditching it in droves.

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Let Us Provide You With Important News

Let Us Provide You With Important News

Let us provide you with important news and information regarding factory farming, with insights into progress and solutions regarding all aspects of this issue. We will not overwhelm you: Our content curators will organize and aggregate key articles and information into Issues which will post once or twice a month. Updates will often be just weekly.

Our content creatives will link compelling original content for you to experience. 

Let us share our favorite people and businesses with you. They are inspirations. Their ideas and their products are ones you may welcome knowing about.

Become part of our conversation. 

Sign up for e-mail updates below.

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Say NO to Buying Lunchables Until Kraft/Oscar Mayer Stops Using Meat From Farms That Use Antibiotics

Say NO to Buying Lunchables Until Kraft/Oscar Mayer Stops Using Meat From Farms That Use Antibiotics

 

STEPHEN COMMENT:  Having experienced one of the cruelest of tragedies, Everly is trying to prevent anyone else from having to suffer what she went through. Elegantly and without rancor, she is requesting one of the largest manufacturers of processed foods make an ingredient change. Just that.

With powerful understatement, Everly serves notice to Kraft/Oscar Mayer, a corporation with a long history of including unnatural ingredients in the foods they ‘create.’ If the meat in Kraft Lunchables “comes from farms that use antibiotics to feed healthy animals” is it not likely that the meat Kraft sources from these factory farms is used in its other products as well?

23,000 Americans, like Everly’s son, die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacterium.

Consumer awareness is increasing about the dangers of consuming factory-farm raised meat and dairy products. Brands like McDonald’s are shifting from tainted to toxic in consumer’s minds. A downward brand spiral often becomes a death spiral. At what point will Kraft/Oscar Mayer re-evaluate the ingredients in its ‘processed’ foods, its corporate mentality? At what point will consumer class-action litigation begin?

This is a powerful petition. Please read it and sign it.

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Choose Your Food Wisely

Choose Your Food Wisely

Use of antibiotics in healthy livestock account for about 80% of all antibiotic use in the US, so in order to halt the growth of antibiotic resistance, we really must address this source. According to a Y 2009 report by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the subject, factory farms used 29-M lbs [29,000,000 lbs] of antibiotics that year alone. Besides promoting growth in livestock, antibiotics are also used to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary living conditions associated with large-scale confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). 

Since the food animals are routinely fed low doses of antibiotics, the bacteria become resistant far more easily than they do when aggressively treating an active infection until all the bacteria are eradicated. As a result of this agriculture practice, we end up ingesting these drug remnants through the animal food products we consume. And, since we are now getting very low doses of antibiotics through our food on a regular basis, the promotion of resistance continues in the human population as well.

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Consumer Group Calls on McDonald's to Stop Purchase of Meat Raised With Antibiotics

Consumer Group Calls on McDonald's to Stop Purchase of Meat Raised With Antibiotics

CHICAGO - The state consumer group Illinois PIRG launched a national campaign Jan. 22 asking McDonald's to stop the purchase of meat raised with antibiotics.

As one of the largest purchasers of beef, pork and chicken in the United States, such a commitment from McDonald's would help tackle the growing public health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

"People are becoming increasingly aware of the growing public health crisis surrounding antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the role that factory farms play in overusing antibiotics," said Dev Gowda, campaign coordinator of Illinois PIRG's Stop Antibiotics Overuse Campaign.

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