Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crackdown on Antibiotics for Animals

I think the New York Times' Eric Eckholm did a really good job with the article US Meat Farmers Brace for Limits on Antibiotics. As a standard practice farmers in the US give healthy animals antibiotics to make sure that they stay healthy, and to help them grow faster. I do understand the economic value of such a practice, those animals are those farmers livelihood and if they can do anything to safe guard against losing their investment in those animals I see why they would do it. HOWEVER, there is a serious impact to the environment and to public health by giving healthy animals antibiotics.

I like Eckholm's article because he's clear in the way he explains the new components of the story (that the FDA is considering stricter regulations on the use of antibiotics in animals, and that such actions are gaining popularity in Congress). But he also provides the background and context necessary to understand both the farmer's point of view, and the science behind the call to end the use of antibiotics in animals because of their detrimental affects on humans.

The article also has a really nice lead by taking the story down to the level of a single pig farmer and his experience using antibiotics in his healthy animals. It imparts a literary aspect of story telling that I admire in a hard news story. I think its a good example of a writer going beyond the hard news angle and giving some really nice and necessary context to the story.

On a different, but similar, note for those of you who have never seen the Meatrix you should watch it.  I love it and I think its a great way to talk about the use of antibiotics and other issue facing the meat industry (as long as you aren't a farmer).

1 comment:

  1. The meatrix! You should give the documentary "Food Inc." a try -- it's really interesting as well.