(Plain Press, March 2014) Food and Water Watch held a press conference on Saturday, February 15th at the rear entrance of the West Side Market to announce the launch of a local campaign to raise awareness of the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Protester Brandon Bish dressed in a cow costume and other protesters carried signs to promote the cause.
Food and Water Watch Organizer Cait De Mott Grady said the misuse of antibiotics in factory farms has been linked to increased antibiotic resistance in humans. She said Food and Water Watch is urging Cleveland City Council to pass a resolution in support of federal legislation to protect antibiotics. The effort is part of a national campaign.
According to Food and Water Watch, “the routine daily use of antibiotics on livestock, whether or not they are sick, is directly linked to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which have become a serious human health threat. Federal legislation–the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) in the House and the Prevention of Antibiotic Resistance Act (PARA) in the Senate–would prevent medically important antibiotics from being used needlessly on healthy farm animals.”
Food and Water Watch volunteer Jen Wiebusch said Industrial Agriculture accounts for 80% of the antibiotic use in this country. She said the antibiotics are in part used to help animals grow faster.
Dr. Constance Magoulias, M.D., a family physician at MetroHealth Medical Center, spoke about the increasing difficulty of finding antibiotics that work. She said doctors have been asked to act judiciously in prescribing antibiotics because their overuse has led to an increase antibiotic resistant infections. She urged efforts to get factory farms to limit the use of antibiotics to help preserve their usefulness in treating infections.
Carl J. Skalak, Jr., owner of Blue Pike Farm, said the use of antibiotics in animal feed was not necessary. He said the practice results from factory farms that house critters cheek to jowl instead of giving them the proper space.