New infectious diseases are linked to the rise of factory animal farming

Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease and disease resistant strains of antibiotics, according to the 2008 report from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, in conjunction with the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The commission's report highlights the risks to the public resulting from the growth of the industrialization of farm animal production. It is the result of two and one half years of investigation centered in four areas: public health, environmental impact, effects on farm communities, and animal health and welfare.

Fifteen commissioners, each with impressive credentials, concluded that while factory animal farming and production is increasing worldwide at an exponential rate, the rates of new forms of infectious diseases have been concurrently on the increase. There is clearly a link between factory farming and human illness.

Although the number of farms producing animals for food has declined dramatically in the past five decades as small independent farmers have been pushed out of the way by the giant food conglomerates, the number of food animals produced has stayed fairly constant. It is this concentration of farm animals in larger and larger numbers in ever closer proximity to one another, along with some of the feed and animal management methods used in the industrial system that has increased the risks of pathogens and created more opportunities for disease transmission to humans. Of particular concern is the increase in antibiotic use, needed to keep animals alive under such deplorable conditions. Excessive use of antibiotics has given rise to antibiotic-resistant microbes that pose a threat to the health of humans as well as animals.

The risks fall into three categories: prolonged worker contact with animals, increased pathogen transmission within a herd or flock, and the increased opportunities for the generation of antimicrobial resistant bacteria as the result of imprudent use of antibiotics, or new strains of viruses.

Communities near industrial farms animal production facilities are seen as particularly at risk, with children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic health conditions in the greatest danger of the health threats posed by such methods of farming.

Read more@ Natural News.

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