Oh, boy. This one has blockbuster written all over it. Tonight, the CBS Evening News is broadcasting the first in a two-part series on the use of antibiotics in livestock (some background here). Katie Couric previewed the report this morning — and it looks like a doozy. The clip features an interview with a farmer who developed an antibiotic-resistant strep infection that was traced to his pigs. The farmer had been feeding sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to his barn-raised pigs. Once he recovered, he abandoned those industrial techniques in favor of traditional pasture-based methods. And he and his pigs have never been happier.
If we need any more indication that Couric is taking a serious and committed position on this issue, just consider her observation in a discussion with the Early Show‘s Maggie Rodriguez that feeding animals routine doses of antibiotics is like “putting it in your child’s cereal to keep him or her from getting sick.” Nice.
Couric also raises the possibility that you can get these resistant infections from the meat itself, either through handling it or undercooking it. She also explicitly called out “factory farmers” as defenders of a practice that is only required “because many of these animals are being kept in unsanitary conditions and they’re trying to produce more livestock to produce more meat … It’s really a practice that needs to be reconsidered.”
Big Meat, the jig may be up. Have a look.