At the 14 July, 2010 House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) made the unspectacular but important admission. This opinion was joined by Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Principle Deputy Commissioner of the FDA. Dr. Ali Khan, Assistant Surgeon General and the Deputy Director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Center for Disease Control and Prevention, testified that there is "unequivocal and compelling" evidence that the use of antibiotics in farm animals leads to drug resistance that has an adverse impact on public health.
There is a likely nexus between the productivity and efficiency approach used by factory farmers to accelerate growth of slaughter animals, to cram as many animals as possible into the least amount of space, to spend as little money as possible to keep the animals in basic survivable comfort while they are trapped in crammed confinement to await their slaughter.
Antibiotics, we should all know by now, are indiscriminately fed to these millions of animals, whether or not they are ill. This is really a tacit acknowledgment by the shameless industry that the conditions are so harsh that survival for the cycle of miserable life is not as likely without antibiotics.
Never mind that for decades already we civilised humans, patients and our medical professionals, have been warned to curb back on use of antibiotics on ourselves to prevent antibiotic resistance in ourselves. In our backyards though, the agricultural industry has completely defied these warnings and in its own financial self-interest flouted these warnings by dosing up their "produce" placing humanity at increasing peril of untreatable diseases.
All this amounts to a culture of greed, greed on the part of the industrialists who visit repeated cruelty on helpless animals, greed on the part of the members of government who for personal political or financial gain protect that industry and greed on our part... the less they spend on producing meat the cheaper it is for us to eat it.
For my part, I wonder why we even need a human-oriented reason to be kind to animals. Nevertheless, it is there, it is pressing and now even the USDA and the FDA agree it is a problem.