faCE ISSUE 8

Where do we come in? What can you and I do to be most effective at a critical moment in humanity’s Modern Era, the age of Antibiotics?

faCE profiled the dangers arising from the overuse of antibiotics on factory farmed animals in faCE ISSUE 3. We return to this subject now as recent news is especially troubling.

Our featured article, Superbug Bacteria Resistant To All Antibiotics Found In The U.K., reports that “government scientists have found a gene, known as mcr-1, that gives bacteria resistance to colistin, (the antibiotic) often used by doctors when other antibiotics fail.”  In her National Geographic blog, Maryn McKenna’s observation that “The resistance factor is showing up in more countries, but, much more important, it has combined in some bacterial samples with genes conferring resistance to other potent drugs, creating bacteria that look effectively untreatable” caused Lance Price, PhD, a prominent resistance microbiologist and founder of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, to conclude that “We’re watching our demise in real time.”

A sobering conclusion.

Antibiotic Of Last Resort Faces New Superbug Threat, our second faCE TIME article, reveals a new antibiotic resistant bacteria now reported in China.  Jason Best concludes that “we’re watching antibiotics that were once hailed as miracle drugs increasingly lose their ability to fight disease. With fewer effective antibiotics left in their arsenal to prescribe for the worst antibiotic-resistant infections, doctors have had to turn again to colistin, even though they had deemed the drug too dangerous to prescribe not so long ago. But even colistin’s days as a disease fighter may be numbered.”

In a sign of just how quickly things are moving, Jason points out that “the BBC reported last December (2015), experts in the U.K. “thought they had three years before colistin-resistance would spread from China to the UK.” Instead, it’s on their doorstep today.”…

Our third faCE TIME component is an overview published just last week by the PEW Charitable Trusts, Fighting Superbugs In 2016, which outlines the steps being taken by our government to address these threats. Focus is on accelerating the development of new antibiotics, emphasizing antibiotic stewardship programs in health care facilities, and ending antibiotic use for growth promotion in animals.

These changes are urgently needed and can’t happen soon enough. In study after study, in Asia, Europe and the Americas, gene mutations in bacteria making them resistant to antibiotics are showing up in humans and in livestock.

One problem is that once well intentioned, effective government guidelines, such as the FDA’s Guidance for Industry #213, are drafted they can run head on into government entities like the USDA which are under the powerful influence of BigAg and the factory farming industry. When the wolves are running the hen house, the application of these guidelines, their oversight and penalties, are muted. Language in the PEW article implies this. One example: “Drug companies are expected to have removed growth promotion indications from product labels, …”

As Andrew Gage and Dr. Scott Weissman note in Stop The Overuse Of Antibiotics On Factory Farms, “the federal agency responsible for regulating livestock antibiotics — the Food and Drug Administration — is moving at a snail’s pace in responding to the threat. In 2013, the FDA adopted a measure designed to limit antibiotic use on livestock. Unfortunately, the most important restrictions in the rule are easily circumvented. When it was announced, animal pharmaceutical companies said that they anticipated no noticeable changes to their sales — a clear indicator that it is likely to be ineffectual.”  

So THIS IS WHERE we come in.

Andrew Gage and Dr. Scott note that “Countries like Denmark, one of the biggest pork producers in Europe, have already taken meaningful steps to curtail antibiotic abuse on factory farms by banning the administration of antibiotics to healthy animals.” My state, California, enacted California State Assembly Bill 27 last October, which places tough restrictions on the use of all antibiotics on farm animals. This is a monumental victory for animal welfare and for us. “The law is a game-changer,” says Avinash Kar, a staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It instantly puts California at the forefront of U.S. efforts to end livestock misuse of antibiotics.”

This is what you can do… Spread awareness of this to your friends and throughout your social networks. Share this post.  Share these articles. Invite people to read more about this on our site. Sign every petition and get active to make sure this issue is addressed by your state legislature. California’s Bill 27 is the preeminent example.

Elsewhere in this Issue, faCE LIFT has a powerful petition to sign and all kinds of good news regarding the health benefits of eating less meat, the Rapid Rise of Sustainable Plant-Based Foods and reveals who is driving this surging demand.

More food chains continue to announce their transition away from purchasing eggs produced by battery-caged hens. Trader Joe's is this weeks latest example.

In faCE LOVE, we profile one of our heros, Steve Ells, a man who started a small restaurant in 1993 and today, oversees as Founder and Co-CEO, 1900 of them – 1900 Chipotles. In the brutally competitive food business, his company mandate was always to make best efforts to buy produce locally and from farmers who use crop rotation to protect the quality of their soil, and to source pigs that are humanely raised. At times, when he could find NO PIGS IN THE COUNTRY that were humanely raised, he pulled popular carnitas off his menus – taking a huge risk that his customers wouldn’t bolt down the street to eat at a competitor’s - somewhere that served pork without regard for where it came from. And it is no coincidence that some pork suppliers are now changing the way they raise their pigs.

We also look at Willie Nelson,  Neil Young and those at Farm Aid as they take on the DARK Act.

Wonderful people, significant accomplishments – and all at a time with the fate of our Modern Era, the Antibiotic Era, hanging in the balance…

Please get active on behalf of animals. Help us all end the cruelty of factory farming. Farm Animal Compassionate Engagement is about solutions. There’s much more to learn about and discover on our site. Take a little time and explore faCE.

  • Eat less meat and dairy.
  • Know your food sources.
  • Avoid factory farmed meat and dairy products completely.
  • Keep your friends and family informed. TELL THEM TO JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST!

Love, value and care for life. All life.

-Stephen

Visit us at farmanimalce.com