Cows’ Rights to Health Care

This isn’t headache-related, but is a serious health issue that we can’t ignore.

FDA Rules Override Warnings About Drug: Cattle Antibiotic Moves Forward Despite Fears of Human Risk
With that headline as foreshadowing, I knew the news would be bad, but I didn’t expect it to be this outrageous and horrifying.

The government is on track to approve a new antibiotic to treat a pneumonia-like disease in cattle, despite warnings from health groups and a majority of the agency’s own expert advisers that the decision will be dangerous for people.

The drug, called cefquinome, belongs to a class of highly potent antibiotics that are among medicine’s last defenses against several serious human infections. No drug from that class has been approved in the United States for use in animals.

The American Medical Association and about a dozen other health groups warned the Food and Drug Administration that giving cefquinome to animals would probably speed the emergence of microbes resistant to that important class of antibiotics, as has happened with other drugs. Those super-microbes could then spread to people.

Cheap beef is more important than protecting human health? First they approved an over-the-counter weight loss drug; now this. Arrrrrgh.


2 Responses to “Cows’ Rights to Health Care”

  1. Julie Says:

    I don’t eat beef, but I buy it for my husband and daughter. I try to buy Laura’s Lean, because the cows are given organic feed, and they are hormone and antibiotic free. But I know that the majority of beef sold is not so healthy.

    I also buy beef from well-cared for cows, but don’t think many people know how terrible industrial farming practices are. The drugs, grains, conditions, etc. It’s hard for me to write about without evangelizing!


  2. Jamie Says:

    Just another perspective you should know – most antibiotic resistance is caused by the human medical field NOT veterinary products. Many, many studies have proven that levels of antibiotics are not traceable in meat that we eat so humans are not exposed this way (or steroids/hormones FYI). Many physicians give antibiotics for every cold, flu, acne problem, and especially to kids when pressured by parents who feel they need to be treating something when their child is sick (i.e. ear infections). Almost all these illnesses (acne the exception, but should people litter the environment with ab’s for years for vanity?) are viral and ab’s do NO good, yet are constantly prescribed. Food animal restrictions are very strict and many drugs are off-limits for this very reason – to protect human health. A bigger problem is the human drugs given to cats and dogs that live in our homes and sleep in our beds, lick our kid’s faces – that is WAY more exposure than eating beef with no traceable levels. There are no restrictions on what we can give companion animals (horses included). I am not saying there should be as I, for one, am very judicious in what drugs I give as I am very aware of this issue – but I urge everyone to really get the facts on this issue. One last tidbit – organic beef farms actually cause more problems since the animals can’t be treated with low level ab’s when they first get a little sick, when they don’t get better and are really sick they are separated and sent to other pens where they are pumped full of REALLY strong drugs to save them at the last minute and then sold as regular cattle.

    Thanks for all the information, Jamie. My reaction was in part to the horrors of factory farming. Humane treatment is more important to me than ingesting antibiotics.

    Overprescribing by doctors is the biggest problem, which is part of the reason I’m concerned — obviously that’s not changing (much), so where does it stop? I’d rather overreact before it happens than have regrets afterward.

    All that said, you know a whole lot more about it than I do and I trust your opinion. You’ve put me at ease.


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