While enjoying a coffee with a friend tonight, the topic of childhood diseases came up. This led to a discussion about food security and the rapidly approaching end of the era of effective antibiotics. Imagine we are heading back into a world where a scratch or a simple infection could spell death because of antibiotic resistance.
My friend was astounded. My assertion was incredulous. Your foolish he said. Like many people, he simply had no idea that the routine use of antibiotics in poultry, dairy, pig and beef farming has resulted in bugs evolving resistance to man kinds best defense. Our arrogance, greed and false assurances that Homo Sapiens can tame nature have left us on the cusp of the post-antibiotic world!
Sure it sounds like scenario for a post apocalypse science fiction movie but it is unfolding around us. Already superbugs are evading modern medicines best defense against super bugs. More and more of us are finding that the overuse of antibiotics has weakened their effectiveness in fighting even routine infections.
While I wars unable to find firm numbers on antibiotic resistant death rates in Canada, it is estimated that they will claim 32,000 lives in America this year. Health Canada released a report last summer that pointed out a 14-fold increase in the use of last-line antibiotics in Canadian hospitals.
Dumping medicines into the environment has ensured they are part of our ecology - our water and soil. The biggest culprit is the food industry which has taken to the routine use of antibiotics to protect profits and allow them to grow more animals, faster and in dirtier conditions (to parent disease from unsanitary living conditions) than ever before on factory farms. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics.
How do we justify continuing to allow the producers of our food to use antibiotics to our eventual peril. What are government's doing to restrain this misuse of antibiotics? They should be more effectively banning the administration of antibiotics to healthy animals and closing the loopholes that allow tons of imported antibiotics that find thier way to farms.
As individuals we should be refusing to purchase meat raised by producers that indiscriminately use antibiotics.
We spend billions fighting terror, but seem lack the desire to truly tackle the terror that lurks so close to our very survival and quality of life. So far, the bugs are winning the war against science.