When my son was a baby he had one ear infection which took a few rounds of antibiotics before it went away. Frankly, having him on so many antibiotics at such a young age gave me the creeps. According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. April 16th is Supermoms Against Superbugs Advocacy Day, a day in which we acknowledge the overuse of antibiotics on farms and its contribution to the development of antibiotic resistant illnesses.
In our home we shop organic and free of hormones or chemicals every chance we have, simply because not doing so scares me. There is clear evidence that antibiotic overuse on industrial farms is contributing to the development of infections (known as Superbugs) are resistant to antibiotics and can be transmitted to people through food, soil, air and water. Our children are at an especially high risk because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use.
Think about this. While antibiotic use is closely monitored in children by most doctors, the antibiotics that are fed to crops are not monitored at all. In fact, a recent article in the New York Times stated that up to 80% of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chicken, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs — which drugs are used, on what types of animal, and in what quantities. And according to Pew Health Initiatives, in 2011 more antibiotics were sold for use in meat and poultry production than ever before.
It makes you think twice about what we are putting in our bodies. Doesn’t it?
So on April 16th, parents, doctors, chefs, farmers, and survivors of drug-resistant infections will call on President Obama, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Congress to speak out against industrial farms’ antibiotic use and to put an end to the practices that threaten our health and the health of our children. Yet you do not have to wait for April 16th. You can get involved now. Here’s how:
- Learn more about this advocacy day, about the overuse of antibiotics and how you can help by visiting www.SaveAntibiotics.org.
- Sign and pass on the word about this petition on Change.org calling on the USDA’s School Lunch Program to serve only meat and poultry that was raised without antibiotics.
- Add your name to this petition which is collecting signatures asking the White House to take immediate action to stop antibiotic overuse on industrial farms.
- Ask your senators and representative to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, legislation that would withdraw the use of antibiotics from food animal production unless the drugs are not used in human medicine or animals are sick.
- Follow the conversation at #SaveAbx or #Supermoms on Twitter and participate in the #SaveAbx twitter chat on 4/12/13, 1-2 PM (EST).
As parents, we have the power and responsibility to protect the health of our children and ourselves. Let’s make a difference. Don’t we have to?
Disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network though I have not received any payment for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.