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Why we should talk about animals when we talk about antibiotics

Date

2016

Authors

Levi, Ashley, author
Rollin, Bernard E., advisor
Gorin, Moti, advisor
Kesel, Martha Lynne, committee member

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Abstract

Antibiotic use in livestock has been accused of playing a major role in the emerging public health crisis of antibiotic resistance in human beings. While antibiotics are important medical tools that help to fight bacterial infections, informed scientific opinion suggests that if farmers continue to use them sub-therapeutically in animal feeds, they will pose a grave threat to human health. While this is an important issue, and one that has been taken up by many, what is also noteworthy, and what I take to be an important issue, are the ways in which the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feeds poses a grave threat to animal health as well. Dr. Bernard Rollin, bioethicist and distinguished professor of philosophy, animal sciences, and biomedical sciences at Colorado State University brings to our awareness that antibiotics are one of the most influential technological tools that have enabled us to crowd large amounts of animals in very small spaces for profit at the expensive of their welfare. Therefore, I object to the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics not only because it affects human health, but insofar as it also promotes or makes possible farming practices that significantly harm animals. In what follows, I wish to identify and bring to awareness how the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is necessary for the maintenance of the larger practice of industrial farming (i.e., factory farming). Further, if we give up such antibiotic use, not only might we see improvements in human health issues with regard to antibiotic resistance, but, we might well see better animal husbandry, welfare, and thus a more morally defensible agriculture.

Description

2016 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.

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