Written by PETA
Unless you fancy a MRSA mustache, you might want to put down the milk jug. A research team at Cambridge University has discovered a new Staphylococcus aureus strain in cow's milk that is highly resistant to antibiotics.
How did MRSA wind up in cow's milk? Cows used for dairy often suffer from mastitis, a painful bacterial udder infection caused by unsanitary living conditions and by manipulating cows to produce unnaturally high quantities of milk. Farmers combat mastitis with antibiotics, and Cambridge scientist Dr. Mark Holmes said it is a "credible hypothesis" that overuse of antibiotics in cows has led to the emergence of the new MRSA strain.
The birth of a new superbug on a dairy farm really shouldn't come as any surprise, since the widespread use of antibiotics as "growth promoters" on factory chicken, turkey, and pig farms has long been blamed for the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Fortunately, rice, soy, oat, and nut milks provide calcium, vitamins, and a smooth, silky texture, and they won't leave your cookies swimming in a MRSA bath.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
What some insects are capable of is enough to make the horror film The Fly seem cuddly by comparison. In a study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, researchers collected flies and cockroaches from manure on pig farms and found that the insects carried the same antibiotic-resistant bacteria as the pigs who were fed the drugs. The bacteria samples were resistant to erythromycin, streptomycin, and kanamycin and were highly resistant to tetracycline.
According to researcher Dr. Ludek Zurek, the insects can travel from farms to nearby residences and spread the antibiotic-resistant bacteria to people through contact with food. If the bacterial strains multiply in large numbers, they have the potential to leave patients immune to the healing effects of antibiotic medications, which could make treatment for infections difficult. The new research mirrors what previous studies have shown about the danger that antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose to people. To quote The Fly, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Every year, hundreds of discarded cows bound for slaughterhouses from dairy farms are caught under the influence of drugs—illegal levels of antibiotics, that is.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that those antibiotics are making their way into the cows' milk. The agency had planned to start expanding its testing of milk for unsafe levels of antibiotics and other drugs this month, but—wait for it—the dairy industry threw a fit. Shocker.
Throwing out every cockamamie reason that it could think of, the industry managed to stall the FDA—but hopefully not for long. "The agency remains committed to gathering the information necessary to address … this important potential public health issue," the FDA said in a statement. "F.D.A. is concerned that the same poor management practices which led to the meat residues may also result in drug residues in milk."
Of course, the best way to avoid drinking a drugshake is to avoid cow's milk altogether.
That's our number of the day, boys and girls. Which of the following adds up to 29 million?
If you chose "5," you may be watching too much of the Count (or maybe you just cheated and Googled "29 million"), but you would also be correct.
Of course, the notable fact for our purposes is that 29 million pounds of antibiotics are fed to animals on farms. Quick refresher for those of you who are new to the Files: Animals are routinely fed antibiotics in order to promote growth and keep them alive long enough in filthy, miserable factory-farm conditions to be poked and prodded to slaughter.
This is problematic for those of us who aren't making heaps of money off abused animals' backs, because the overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," which then proceed to eat our flesh, ravage our lungs, poison our blood, and engage in other nasty, life-threatening behavior.
This is the first time that the government has even attempted to tabulate the staggering amounts of antibiotics fed to animals. One has to wonder what took it so long—although, as nutrition professor and author Marion Nestle points out, "[I]t is a sign that the FDA is taking steps to address this serious public health problem."
What do you say we check back at this time next year to see how much that number has gone up or down?
Written by Alisa Mullins
The cruel treatment of chickens raised for food is reason enough for people to stop eating them, but Dr. Mehmet Oz just provided his viewers with yet another reason: On a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, he explained exactly what's in chicken flesh—chemicals, antibiotics, arsenic, drugs, and salt—and how it can lead to antibiotic resistance and other health problems.
Gardein vegan chicken anyone?
Written by Heather Moore
Citing research showing that feeding antibiotics to animals on factory farms in order to promote growth "is not in the interest of protecting or promoting public health," the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that farmers stop routinely mixing antibiotics into animal feed.
Unfortunately, just because the FDA—along with about a gazillion (give or take a zillion) other health experts who are alarmed by the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs"—recommends this, it doesn't mean that factory farm operators are going to meekly flush their arsenal of magic bullets down the drain. After all, the reason why antibiotics are fed to animals on factory farms is to keep them from dying in the filthy, crowded conditions that farmers force these animals to call home. Factory farms are prime breeding grounds for potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, and the conditions are so putrid that millions of animals die within a matter of weeks before they are even sent to slaughter, despite being shot up with drugs. Imagine how few would survive without them.
So expect factory farm operators to fight tooth and nail to avoid giving up their pharmaceutical cocktails—because the only alternative is to improve conditions on factory farms or … gasp … to stop raising animals altogether.
While Big Ag continues to play Russian roulette with public health, you can get started kicking the drug habit today by ordering a copy of our free vegetarian/vegan starter kit.
It takes guts to challenge the multi-million-dollar-a-year industry that you've made your living from, but award-winning filmmaker and provocateur Chris Palmer has thrown open the curtain on what really happens during the filming of wildlife shows, movies, and documentaries in his new book Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom. His book reveals how corners are cut, animals are harassed, and scenes are staged all in the quest to catch the "money shot." Palmer, who admits that he himself engaged in some unethical practices while filming, is uniquely suited to expose what really goes on behind the scenes.
One of Palmer's targets is the late Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Harasser Hunter. After Irwin died, PETA took some heat for honestly pointing out that the entire premise of his show was based on harassing wild animals. Palmer validates our contention, reminding readers that Irwin invaded animals' homes, netted them, taped their mouths shut, removed them from their natural environment, and used them as living props.
Order a copy of this revealing and thought-provoking book right away, and for loads of other great reads, visit the PETA catalog.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Q: If "Happiness Is a Dead Animal," then what does that make a malnourished, exhausted, or mistreated animal?
A: A hot dog, according to the meat industry, which recently admitted that it uses dark, firm, and dry (DFD) meat—which "can be the result of prolonged stress in animals prior to slaughter, either because the animals have been underfed, or they are overly fatigued due to transportation and mishandling, or both"—to make "high-quality" products like hot dogs.
Makes perfect sense, right? If an animal is destined for slaughter, why bother treating him or her humanely when you can use his or her underfed and overly fatigued flesh to make hot dogs? I'm thinking that all the antibiotics, dioxins, and hormones that are loaded into meat have finally gotten to those industry officials' heads.
Instead of chowing down on DFD flesh, maybe they should try some DDF (that's "darn delicious faux") meat instead?
Written by Logan Scherer
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.