Guest post: By then, it will be too late

Originally a comment by Cluecat on Six out of ten.

As is mentioned in the other posts, this is a huge problem with industrial livestock raising all over the world.

There are a few antibiotic agents designated as the absolute “last line of defence” – to only ever be used in human treatment when literally nothing else has had any effect, and to never ever be routinely prescribed because of that critical designation.

These medications treat bugs that are resistant to every other antibiotic on the market, infections that cause horrible, drawn-out death. These meds are the reason we no longer have Sepsis Wards in healthcare settings in Western countries – although it looks like we might be heading back that way…

These are treatments that can save lives in extremis. They must be handled as the critical interventions that they are.

What happens instead? These critical medications are routinely added to animal feed, thrown around like candy in industrial farming settings, because using them means more efficient animal growth/less disease burden in atrocious conditions. This is once more focusing on profit at the expense of welfare – and a complete disregard for the wider consequences.

Areas in the Indian Subcontinent, certain countries in Africa, have been warning the rest of the world for decades. Multi-Drug Resistant TB has been an issue for many years. We are heading back to a time when a tiny scratch in the skin could be someone’s death warrant, as has been the case for most of human history. Sure, some of it is stupid people not completing the full course of antibiotics, or demanding them unnecessarily, but a huge amount of the problem is industrial farming methods. Profit uber alles.

All the Pharma companies have little interest in developing new anti-microbial agents because there’s no instant pay-off for their shareholders. Companies refuse to put new drugs through testing because it costs money, and that isn’t coming back to shareholders. Companies hang on to patents and refuse to make drugs availible for the same reasons.

Without firm support from governments and international health authorities, and a willingness to recognise this issue, it’s only going to get worse. Humans are stupid, and greedy. The people who are going to suffer are the same ones who always end up suffering, and only when the incredibly entitled and wealthy idiots driving the profit cycle find out that no amount of money will stop a lethal infection will there be a serious attempt to fix the issue. By then, it’ll be too late. Just like everything else.

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