Please, forgive me for the cynical title. It just so happens that in my browsing today, I came across this news headline:
New York Times: U.S. Tightens Rules on Antibiotics Use for Livestock
If you read nothing but the first paragraph, and you’re anything like me, you would be ecstatic:
Farmers and ranchers will for the first time be required to get a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals…
But upon reading further, I find that “Initially, the F.D.A. is asking drug makers to voluntarily change their labels to require a prescription”, so that hardly sounds like a requirement. This headline much better describes the situation, in my humble opinion:
One headline seems to glorify the FDA as campaigning for our health and that of our livestock, and the next headline gives the real story; the FDA has said “pretty please” to the drug companies to require a subscription, leaving the factory farms that mix antibiotics into their feed for sub-therapeutic use completely out of the spotlight. If blanket use of antibiotics is the problem, then why not address it directly? Require that sick animals be separated from the stock instead of just drugging everyone and hoping for the best. I hate to be a downer, but this appears to be more of a public relations move than anything else. I honestly hope this fails miserably and the FDA is forced to make a stronger stand.
In the meantime, I’ll munch on tasty steaks from my Riverview Farms meat CSA and hope for the best…