BLOG HOME
RSS FEED TWITTER BUTTON EMAIL TOM

October 1, 2009

Believe the Danes -- Our Hogs Will Be Fine
According to the meat industry, the debate over legislation pending in the House that would ban the use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics comes down to a simple "fact": hog-farming on any scale without sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics is impossible. The National Pork Producers Council says so. The American Veterinary Medical Associate says so. Heck, even GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says so.

For the record, these folks also say that livestock producers don't really use 70% of all antibiotics distributed in the US as the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates. And you know what, we have no idea if they're right. What many people don't realize is that antibiotic use by American livestock producers is one of the best kept secrets on the planet. The UCS had to deduce that number based on US sales of antibiotics combined with data from a country that does publish figures on antibiotics use in livestock: Canada. That's right. No one in the US, not the government, not industry -- no one -- has any responsibility to tell Americans how much antibiotics is actually in their meat. We're just to supposed to Take Industry's Word For It that everything's peachy.

Which is why the Danes insistence on being a part of this debate is so important. Denmark is the largest hog producer in Europe and, realizing the threat to public health posed by routinely feeding healthy livestock antibiotics, they stopped doing it. Over a decade ago. To listen to the AVMA and Chuck Grassley describe Denmark's experience, you'd think that Denmark's hog industry went the way of New York Harbor's oyster beds -- a happy, productive industry destroyed by mismanagement. Except, insist the Danes, that just isn't so.

READ THE REST OF THIS POST AT GRIST.ORG

Photo by The Pug Father used under a CC license

Labels: , , ,



www.tips-fb.com StumbleUpon Reddit newsvine newsvine


   < BACK TO TOP

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]


spacer