Chris Smyth and Jeremy Starkey report 8th November 2017: Farmers reject WHO plea to stop antibiotic use in attempt to curb superbugs

Which goes to show that “The profit driver trumps public health for farmers.” Why would you expect it to be any different for the environment? Often, when we eat meat, or drink milk, we are all taking a small dose of antibiotics. This is a major cause or resistance…

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the newly elected director general of the World Health Organization, said “strong, sustained action” was needed

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the newly elected director general of the World Health Organization, said “strong, sustained action” was needed

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Farmers have dismissed calls by the World Health Organisation to stop using antibiotics vital to human health. (Farming UK 8th November: Pig industry warns against further ‘unsubstantiated’ antibiotic reductions)

The organisation says that antibiotics should not be used to prevent animals getting sick and has demanded global standards to tackle superbugs.

Farmers in the UK insisted that the requests were unnecessary and incompatible with British farming.

The WHO has warned that liberal use of the drugs for animals speeds up the pace at which bacteria develop resistance to them, which can then be transmitted to humans through food.

It wants a global ban on giving farm animals antibiotics to boost growth, saying there is no good reason to do it. The EU and US have banned the practice, but in some countries up to 80 per cent of all antibiotics used are given to animals. The WHO insists that it is possible to reduce their use without damaging the agricultural economy.

In Britain 5,000 people a year die of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which are projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050 if nothing is done.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said: “Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to . . . keep the world safe.”
Gwyn Jones, chairman of Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture, said: “We know some practices in veterinary medicine, as in human medicine, cannot continue. But time, investment and support are needed to make long-term sustainable changes without harming animal welfare.”

What happens when antibiotics stop working?

David Aaronovitch in the Times 29th July 2017 – whose life was saved by antibiotics after a routine operation went catastrophically wrong six years ago – talks to the scientists on a mission to solve the problem of drug-resistant infections. It’s a race against time: the alternative is a future where a graze could be fatal

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