WEB Notes: This is a very interesting topic. The food industry has been flipped on its head from years past. Pumping animals with antobotics basically cuts their time to market in half. How healthy is that for you? A lot of times we do not know as no research was done. In that case, why does the process exist? When we start playing with nature we need to understand what we are doing and the long term affects of those decisions.

In 2015, Sandy Lewis, a small-time organic cattle farmer in upstate New York, bought 13 bulls, for around $5,000 each, from a breeder in Oklahoma. A few weeks after the animals were trucked to his farm near the Vermont border, Mr. Lewis discovered that two of the bulls had died. He could see holes in their abdomens from where they had gored one other.

A field autopsy proved inconclusive. When two more bulls among the new herd fell sick, Mr. Lewis shipped them off to Cornell University to be examined. One died along the way, but a blood test on the living bull provided the answer: It had anaplasmosis, a bacterial illness that destroys red blood cells and deprives the animals of oxygen, causing them at times to act violently. The disease is relatively rare in the Northeast, yet a quarter of Mr. Lewis’s herd ended up becoming infected. He lost another six animals to the disease and spent more than $100,000 trying to save the rest. Ultimately, another 100 animals had to be culled.

The costly experience propelled Mr. Lewis, an intense, cranky and compulsive former Wall Street arbitrageur, on a two-year investigative journey into the use of antibiotics on American animal farms. Now he is asking a question he believes government regulators and the meat industry urgently need to grapple with: Are pig, cattle and poultry farmers misusing antibiotics, allowing too much of the drug to get into our food?

It has long been common knowledge in farming that antibiotics can help cause animals to grow fatter faster. Time is money, particularly in the food industry, and for many years ranchers used antibiotics not just for treating diseases but also for promoting growth so that animals would be ready for the slaughterhouse sooner. (Mr. Lewis says his grass-fed steers require 27 months to get to market without antibiotics, more than twice as long as it takes cows pumped full of antibiotics.)

Source: NY Times



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