Actual imagery of factory farms is too depressing for food pages, so we’ve substituted this image from The Meatrix. See the Times story for the real thing.
|In yesterday’s New York Times magazine section, Michael Pollan, who is professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the school’s Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, does more than just expose another filthy meat “factory farm.” In these huge, meat-producing operations for pigs, chicken and cattle, animals are penned in on top of each other, standing in their own muck, such that they must be fed antibiotics daily or they would die of disease. (If you want to see the animated film version this, suitable for children, see the award-winning “The Meatrix”). It’s just not ugly anymore, though: It may be fatal. A virulent strain of the Staphylococcus bacteria, called MRSA, is now killing more American than AIDS, and it’s antibiotic-resistant.|
|Studies in Canada and Europe have found that confinement pig operations (factory farms) are reservoirs of MRSA. While scientists have not established that any of the strains of MRSA that are responsible for American deaths originated on factory farms, the livestock industry has not been cooperative, nor has the Department of Agriculture rushed to investigate. What can you do? Read Michael Pollan’s story, and switch to organic meat. The latter is not a suggestion of the Pollan story, but THE NIBBLE’s. Organic meat comes from antibiotic-free animals, which would avoid any forthcoming drug-resistant infections in humans that stem from the antibiotics in meat. You can read more about the challenges of Big Agribusiness in Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and more about organics in the NutriNibbles section of THE NIBBLE online magazine|
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