These bacteria wear chicken shoes
Right now, we can fight off a wide range of bacterial infections using antibiotics. But those antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective, and antibiotic use on factory farms is partially to blame.
In this episode, Lance Price and Cindy Liu, two public health researchers, explain that we give animals a steady dose of antibiotics in their feed, hoping to stave off disease in cramped, unsanitary conditions. But as a result, the bacteria in these animals develop resistance to antibiotics. But they have some suggestions for how we could make our antibiotics last.
Further listening and reading:
Sigal Samuel has written in depth about the antibiotic risks posed by our factory farms.
Liu and Price’s full study is worth a read, as is this Wired writeup of its findings.
The episode mentions some of the work that Canada and Denmark have done to combat this resistance problem.
It also digs into the use of the antibiotic Colistin in Chinese farms, and the subsequent spread of resistance.
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This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals.
Byrd Pinkerton (@byrdala), podcast producer, Vox
Martha Nelson (@swientist), epidemiologist, National Institutes of Health
Juergen Richt (@juergenricht), professor of veterinary medicine, Kansas State University
Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox
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