Mar 13, 2017
Drugged Up Pigs
In 2010, the world used about 63,000 tons of antibiotics each year to raise cows, chickens and pigs. That's roughly twice as much as the antibiotics prescribed by doctors globally to fight infections in people.
Here's another reason to be vegan."We have huge amounts of antibiotic use in the animal sector around the world, and it's set to take off in a major way in the next two decades," says Ramanan Laxminarayan, who directs the Center for Disease Dynamics Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C. With half of the world's pigs living in China, the country tops the list as the biggest antibiotic consumer in farming. The European Union banned the use of antibiotics to boost animals' growth in 2006. At first, the ban had little effect on the amount of drugs given to pigs. But the U.S. isn't far behind in second place, using about 10 percent of the world's total. Brazil, India and Germany round out the top five for farm animal consumption of antibiotics. What frightens Laxminarayan is the huge rise in farm drug use, especially in middle-income countries. "We project in the next 20 years, world consumption of antibiotics in animals will go up by two-thirds," he says. "The implications for the effectiveness of our antibiotics could be quite devastating." As people around the world get richer, they want to eat more meat. Who can blame them, right? But all those extra chicken wings and pork chops come primarily from factory farms. We can talk about hormones at another time.