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Objections Over Antibiotic Approved for Use in Cattle 253

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-a-human-drug-right-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington post reports that the FDA is expected to approve the marketing of the new antibiotic called Cefquinome for use in cattle. This is over objections of the American medical association, the FDA advisory board and the World Health Organization. Cefquinome is from a class of highly potent 'last line of defense' antibiotics for several serious human infections. It is feared that large scale use in cattle will allow bacteria to develop a resistance to these drugs. This news follows complaints from the FDA that it is no longer getting the funds needed to do the research required for the desired level of food safety."
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Objections Over Antibiotic Approved for Use in Cattle

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  • by dsanfte (443781) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @01:44PM (#18228182) Journal
    This goes beyond idiocy... This is blatant pandering to the cattle lobby at the expense of our health. Everyone of us who might one day get MRSA, or flesh-eating disease...

    Any increased use of these drugs, especially on bacteria present in the food supply, is asking for disaster. When a federal agency start making bad decisions for corporate lobbyists that will cost real lives, it's time for heads to roll.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CiXeL (56313)
      just like the problems with madcow testing
      the beef industry is throwing our safety out the window for immediate profits.
      of course when people start keeling over from madcow the panic is going to be so fierce that people will stop eating beef altogether.
      • I have, largely for environmental reasons, but there are other reasons to. I still like meat dishes, so I think that Boca Burger/Morningstar/Gardenburger kick ass! Morningstar crumblers(ground beef substitute) tacos are actually quite tasty. Just take the crumblers, warm them up, put the same seasoning that you would put on beef/chicken tacos(ie that powerder stuff you can get for 50 cents a bag) and make the rest of the taco the same. I have been eating these at least once a week for months.
        • by reporter (666905) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @07:51PM (#18231996) Homepage
          The collusion between American agribusiness and the government is an excellent example of why we should oppose all tort reform. This sneaky collusion is a powerful force that destroys people's lives. Imagine being killed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It tortures you with excruciating pain before it finally kills you.

          The only force with sufficient power to counteract the power of government-business collusion is the force of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed against the top managers of the FDA, the top managers of the cattle-processing companies, and all the middle men between the cattle-processing companies and the supermarket. Using the courts to suck sufficient money out of these money-grubbing scum (who would sacrifice the lives of children to antibiotic-resistant bacteria for the sake of a buck) is the only way to force the scum to deal fairly and humanely with the American people. When I say, "suck sufficient money", I mean that we should force the scum to pay so much money to the victims (of antibiotic-resistant bacteria) that the scum can afford only to live in a studio apartment and to take the bus to work in the halfway house.

          Once someone dies (indirectly) due to the feeding of Cefquinome to cattle, then we initiate the multi-billion dollar lawsuit. Financially bleed the scum until the scum wishes that it were dead.

          Feed Cefquinome to cattle? "Go ahead. Make my day!"

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by coolGuyZak (844482)

            Once someone dies (indirectly) due to the feeding of Cefquinome to cattle, then we initiate the multi-billion dollar lawsuit. Financially bleed the scum until the scum wishes that it were dead.

            I say this without ill nor trollish intentions: You, sir, are an idiot. Allowing the use of Cefquinome in industrial cattle production creates bacteria highly resistant to the antibiotic. By the time someone dies due to these circumstances, the problem is already out of control. So, not only would we keep the problem

      • Time to go organic (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:37PM (#18229130) Journal
        the beef industry is throwing our safety out the window for immediate profits.

        While I agree that the motive is profit, I don't really understand why the industry is moving that way. Organic Beef is $14 per pound vs $6 per pound for the chemistry set beef. Surely there is just as much profit to be made with improved quality, vs cheaper production.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shofutex (986330)
          I'm sure part of it is that you can't mass-produce organic beef. They need natural feed and it's required that they be labeled if they've been treated with antibiotics. Of course, it won't be long before the cattle industry redefines organic beef so that it no longer means anything.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by spinningmud (870110)
            The difference in price is largely lost in the cost of organic feed, which is often twice conventionally raised feed. I think there would be less reliance on antibiotics in beef operations if there were an antibiotic-free classification priced somewhere between organic and conventional. This would allow the purchase of conventional feedstuffs to fatten the cattle to the consumer's liking while reducing antibiotic use in livestock. The beef industry, no matter how small or large, makes management decision
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MikShapi (681808)
          What does going organic have to do with the issue at hand?
          The cattle is not the issue here, and consuming organic or non-organic has no implication on the issue at hand, unless the mass-producing market were to be utterly boycotted by consumers and had their powerful lobby defanged, which is a lala-land statistical impossibility scenario.

          The issue at hand is you or me dying of flu in 10 years, because we idly chucked the last antibiotics that still work against resistant bacteria all over the foodchain, res
    • Idiots. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Philomathie (937829)
      What a total blunder. This "last line of defence" anti-biotics are not used in medicine for the very same reason they should NOT be used in these cattle: if we use them on any large scale before we need them then the bacteria will become resistant to one of our last defences against that particular bacterium strain. If there was a mass epidemic for one reason or the other before the resistant strain was prevalent, we could have used our back up antibiotic to effectively contain it - but if this goes through
    • by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:11PM (#18228426)
      But, but, what you propose would interfere with that most holy of holies --- the Free Market. Please, won't someone think of the stockholders? A few million lives is a small price to pay for corporate megabucks and a strong economy. Fnord.
      • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:30PM (#18228568) Homepage

        The free market fails in the face of uncompensated externalities.

        "A few million lives" for "megabucks" won't produce a strong economy anyway. In an economic analysis, you *can* put a price on human lives - but that price is well over the couple hundred bucks each this statement implies at maximum.

        • by Toba82 (871257)
          Tragedy of the commons at its worst.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by faffod (905810)
          The free market also needs an educated consumer base. If the average consumer doesn't know that these antibiotics were used, nor the implication of their use, they'll just see that they're getting "better value" for their dollar and reward the farmers (ok, industrialists) who chose to use these antibiotics. The same goes for growth hormones, corn feeding, not dry aging, or anything else that the beef industry has done to maximize profits at the expense of quality.
      • I'll start by saying that I know you are being sarcastic.

        I cannot stand people who use that defense when they are perfectly willing to take government subsidies, tax breaks, corporate bail-outs, and any number of other forms of assistance. If this were a free market, most of the pharmaceutical execs would have been strung out by market forces long ago.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mOdQuArK! (87332)
          Don't forget the entire concept of "intellectual property". It always amazes me to hear the number of peole who will defend copyright/patent/trademark as being "free market".
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      MRSA, or flesh-eating disease...

      Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is not the same as "flesh eating disease" - or necrotizing fasciitis. Flesh eating disease is usually caused by either Streptococcus pyogenes or Clostridium perfringens, two VERY different bugs.

      MRSA usually causes extremely resistant infections (usually in the lungs or an iv catheter site) that progress to bateremia, sepsis and death. Not the same as "flesh eating disease" which is
      • by Broken scope (973885) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:08PM (#18228896) Homepage
        I had three MRSA infections in a period of about 6 month until they killed everything in my nose. I have 2 penny sized scars from the cuts that got infected and a smaller one on my jawline. I took them in early and was given intravenous antibiotics twice and then 2 antibiotics on the other one. The third one was on the back of my leg and it got me really sick. Scary shit. Now correct me if I'm wrong but isn't MRSA a blanket term for like 10 or 15 strains of resistant bacteria?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dunbal (464142)
          Now correct me if I'm wrong but isn't MRSA a blanket term for like 10 or 15 strains of resistant bacteria?


                No, it's a specific term: Methicillin resistant Staph aureus. There are MANY multi-resistent bacteria in a hospital environment - both in the type of bacteria and the degree of resistance, but MRSA is quite specific.
          • I misstated sorry. Isn't there different strains of MRSA with different resistances?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by puck01 (207782)
              As stated above MRSA stands for methacillin resistant staphylcoccus arueus. In the United States, this is actually a misnomer since just about every lab uses oxacillin to test for resistance, so its technically ORSA. In either case, MRSA or ORSA, denotes resistance of staph to our most potent beta-lactum type of antibiotics (in other words, derivatives of penicillin).

              MRSA or ORSA can vary in their sensitivity to non beta-lactum antibiotics. For instance, in many parts of the US, MRSA is sensitive to Clin
      • MRSA, or flesh-eating disease...
        I believe that was a list with the Oxford comma, rather than an appositive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is Bush. The Bush-Republican ideology of no government regulation is seen by the mismanagement of yet another Federal agency. It sickens me to see yet another Federal agency that has been doing a good job (FDA doing its thing for over 50 years and making us all safe, normally) is now taken over by Bush appointees who sell it out to the highest bidder (aka the privatization fever) (cf. FEMA) and then make decisions that prove what Bush wants to prove -- these agencies just can't work, we need to end g
      • by Omestes (471991)
        these agencies just can't work, we need to end government regulation.

        Er... Then we wouldn't have to worry about a corrupt government approving things like this, corporations could just do it on their own. Notice that this move probably came from the cattle lobby, meaning that the cattlemen wanted this. Without regulation they would have just done it, without even the defense of the increasingly broken regulatory process.

        This, also, is not a mandate, meaning responsible beef people don't have to do it, on
      • Damaging the effectiveness of an important antibiotic in order to make some cattle a little bit bigger is a perfection reflection on the Bush ideology of governance.

        Since the potentially resulting super-resistant disease would be a global problem, I wonder if this could be censured by the UN. When you look at the probable outcome of long term use, it is not a far cry to label this as bioterrorism.
    • Once the EU bans the import of all U.S. beef that's treated with these antibiotics (and hormones and all the other drugs that get used in our food supply) the resultant loss of income will force U.S. suppliers to change their ways. An appeal to Japan wouldn't hurt either.

      In the meantime, do your part by making sure that "Beef is *not* what's for dinner".

      Sad to say, these days the best recourse for the U.S. consumer might be to appeal to foreign governments. The current U.S. administration doesn't appear t
      • Re:RTFA (Score:3, Informative)

        by maxume (22995)

        Page four, paragraph 3:

        The statement also said that in Europe, fourth-generation cephalosporins similar to cefquinome have been used in animals for the past decade "without compromising the interests of public health."

        Yet recent European data indicate that resistance against this class of antibiotics is on the rise.

        Oooooops. (I do hope we manage to do a better job over on this side of the pond though, we aren't making new drugs fast enough to be this sloppy with the ones we have)

      • by zoney_ie (740061)
        As far as I know, US beef is banned in Europe due to the use of growth hormones, and this has been the case for years.

        In any case, being Irish, I'd seldom eat anything other than Irish beef, and restaurants etc. here now have to state the country of origin for meat on their menu. Although even places serving pretend food like McDonalds and BK used Irish beef already. Rare to see non-Irish beef sold except for processed food.
      • Once the EU bans the import of all U.S. beef that's treated with these antibiotics

        See the last page of the article. Europe has been using this drug in animals for a decade, with a resulting rise in resistance.

        • Many thanks for pointing this out. I'll break with /. tradition and read to the end next time. ;-)

          In any event, it just points out that we're screwed no matter where we live and that regulation isn't necessarily doing the job it should. Which was always the case given human mobility I suppose.

          Between BSE, hormones and drugs it's increasingly looking like beef is *not* going to be on my dinner table. Not that the problem is confined to just beef. Animals might be tasty but these days they're not a necess
    • I'm not defending this ... [b]but[/b] to play devils advocate

      For various reasons, Ranchers have been put into the situation where they have to have as many cattle as they can possibly have on a ranch in order to make a decent living; this means that a large portion of the livestock we will consume has been raised in an environment which has a high risk of disease. If we don't find and use better anti-biotics there will (eventually) be an outbreak of a new disease from people having consumed bad meat; much l
      • by Frumious Wombat (845680) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:27PM (#18229580)
        Or, we could try a free-market approach: We charge ranchers market-rates for grazing lands and water, we stop propping up corn-states with subsidies so that dirt-cheap corn isn't available for feedlot use as clearance prices, and we treat feedlots as the industrial polluters they are, and regulate them accordingly. While we're at it, label beef openly. You should be able to pick up a package of beef, look at the label, and see "feedlot-raised herford routinely injected with the following antibiotics@concentration@interval just in case". Next to it would be, "grass-fed, open-range, dusted for ticks and certified treated only for illness and not within 120 days of slaughter". End result: a whole whack of inefficient cattlemen go under (at least we won't have to list to the whining of rugged individualists who only need continual tax subsidies but no other gub'mint involvement to stay in business), meat prices rise a bit, successful ranchers will go back to open-range grazing like Argentina does, and possibly some of that fertilizer-gulping corn will be plowed under and prarie grass for grazing planted in its place.

        With better animal-husbandry (don't feed a grazing animal expecting a high-fiber diet acidic corn and make it stand in one place all day), you'll get healthier animals, and less need for antibiotics and other promoters to make them grow. And before anyone starts the accusations, I eat meat and look askance at soybean-based alleged food products. These are the same people pushing irradiation of food so that they don't have to slow down slaughterhouses and worry about what bits of cattle-waste end up on or in meat. Sometimes the answer really is, "it's not a machine, and we should not be producing beef as if it was Nikes, so worry about public health first, then about m
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Walzmyn (913748)
      You sound like you have fallen into the hype trap. Consider a few things.
      Bacteria do not develop resistance. The resistance is already there in a few - they survive and the population that expands from them carries the resistance forth.
      This, however, is cyclical. It is usualy the case that whatever makes them immune to one attack, makes them vunerable to another. Someone down the page is whinning that the drugs that were effective 2 or 3 years ago for his cattle now require 3 times the doseage to be effecti
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @01:47PM (#18228208)
    I always said they would be the downfall of humanity.
  • Shouldn't that be Calfquinome?
  • Funds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday March 04, 2007 @01:52PM (#18228252) Homepage Journal
    Just don't approve anything. In about 6 months you'll get the funds you need.
    A simple 'The citizens of the US our are primary concern. If it is not appropriatly tested to our satisfaction, it won't be ok'd.'

    Tnhen they can use great lines like:
    "You are condernced for the people of this country, right Senator?"

    Time to spin it back.
    • Follow the money (Score:5, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:52PM (#18229280) Homepage Journal

      Just don't approve anything. In about 6 months you'll get the funds you need.
      I don't think that would work:

      September 30, 1980-- The Public Board of Inquiry concludes NutraSweet should not be approved pending further investigations of brain tumors in animals. The board states it "has not been presented with proof of reasonable certainty that aspartame is safe for use as a food additive."

      January 1981-- Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle [rense.com], states in a sales meeting that he is going to make a big push to get aspartame approved within the year. Rumsfeld says he will use his political pull in Washington, rather than scientific means, to make sure it gets approved.

      January 21, 1981-- Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States. Reagan's transition team, which includes Donald Rumsfeld, CEO of G. D. Searle, hand picks Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. to be the new FDA Commissioner.

      [...]
      July 15, 1981-- In one of his first official acts, Dr. Arthur Hayes Jr., the new FDA commissioner, overrules the Public Board of Inquiry, ignores the recommendations of his own internal FDA team and approves NutraSweet for dry products.

      [...]
      September, 1983-- FDA Commissioner Hayes resigns under a cloud of controversy about his taking unauthorized rides aboard a General Foods jet. (General foods is a major customer of NutraSweet) Burson-Marsteller, Searle's public relation firm (which also represented several of NutraSweet's major users), immediately hires Hayes as senior scientific consultant.
  • Level? What level? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @01:55PM (#18228274)
    This news follows complaints from the FDA that it is no longer getting the funds needed to do the research required for the desired level of food safety.

    I'd say they are receiving sufficient funds to achieve the desired level of food safety. It's just that Congress has lowered the level.
  • by Wolfier (94144) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:02PM (#18228340)
    Disgusting. They should understand very well that human health is #1, and animal drugs is #10, period.

    Any "guidance" serves nothing but to make up excuses that tries to justify animal drugs over human health, for pure "economic" reasons (i.e. greed).

  • funds (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kohath (38547) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:03PM (#18228358)
    When was the last time you heard a government department say:

      "We have all the funds we need. We'd like to thank the taxpayers." ?

    Yeah, me neither.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:05PM (#18228374) Homepage Journal
    For the dollar.
  • Micotil (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vladilinsky (1071536) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:16PM (#18228462)
    I'm a farmer/cattle rancher and i actuality get to respond to something on slashdot. I'm so happy. I can say that this really worries me because about 10 years ago we got a new drug Micotil for treating cattle. it would kill anything cattle got (people too if you inadvertently stabbed yourself) now doses for cattle have doubled or even tripled the treatment times need to be increased and the effectiveness, (in my view from my experience ie completely non scientific) is about 1/3 of what it was when Micotil first came out. Maby instead of looking for better antibiotics for the cattle we should be looking at why there are getting sick to begin with, because virtually all cattle that go through the Industrial livestock system get sick.
    • Re:Micotil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nuzak (959558) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:21PM (#18228500) Journal
      Maby instead of looking for better antibiotics for the cattle we should be looking at why there are getting sick to begin with, because virtually all cattle that go through the Industrial livestock system get sick.

      Density. When you cram that many of the same species into one space, you have rather less of a herd and more of a bacterial growth medium, not unlike a petri dish. Suppressing natural immune responses through minimal culling and artificial antibiotics exacerbates the problem. And once you have really virulent infections going around, they contaminate the environment, so any livestock that merely pass through will pick it up. They can't even decontaminate hospitals completely -- you think a feedlot gets disinfected as much?

      Not to be rude, but how on earth can a rancher not know this sort of thing?
      • Re:Micotil (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vladilinsky (1071536) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:06PM (#18228886)
        Its not rude, most farmers/ranchers don't know it. and all vets ever do and tell us is pump more antibiotics into animals, so thats what farmers do. I do know it, i moved away from the feedlot system to grass feed antibiotic free cattle about 5 years a go. i just wanted to make other people think
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by symes (835608)
          And so you should be congratulated for bucking the trend and doing the right thing in adversity. Our of curiosity, how do the rest of your clansmen react and can you charge more for your product because it is antibiotic free?
          • Re:Micotil (Score:5, Interesting)

            by vladilinsky (1071536) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @04:18PM (#18229498)
            the rest of the people around here (Alberta Canada) mostly are indifferent, some react offended at the thought that what they are doing could be considered harmful, and a few understand completely.

            the problems come in trying to market the meat independently. It is really hard. If you try to go through a store they tack on a minimum of 30% which forces me to sell it for market price. (how many people go into a store and are willing to pay more for there food) and if I sell it independently there are a whole other set of problems (to much to get into) so basically i can't sell it for more at this time. I do believe though that there is a growing market for antibiotic free meat.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by symes (835608)
              That's interesting... as there's been a bit of a sea chenge here in the UK. Point in case, my local high street butcher (still a rare breed in the face of supermarket competition) was just the regular butchers churning out the usual cuts of meat. Things weren't that great for them. Recently, however, they've struck a deal with a local independent organic farmer, stuck up a few signs indicating where the meat comes from, how unadulterated it is and so forth... and and put up the prices a fair bit. Now th
            • by hazem (472289)
              There ARE people who will pay more for what they perceive to be better.

              I personally prefer meat with no added hormones and antibiotics. In my perception it's better. So when I buy meat, I go to a market that carries such meats. It costs more (ground beef at 1.99/pound at the Kroger/conglomerate and 2.99/pound at the local "New Seasons"), but to me it's worth it. The meat happens to even taste better, but maybe that's in my head.

              In any case, I've never had to take meat back to New Seasons because they ha
    • "Industrial" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:34PM (#18228592) Homepage
      Anywhere I see "industrial" I see unsustainable practices for maximal profits being done.

      Doesn't matter WHERE I see it. It just is.

      Pack a bunch of dumb animals into a tight space, something that isn't natural- you're going to get problems.
      The industry's answer, drug them animals up to offset the problem. Which isn't really an answer.

      As the Poultry industry seems to be figuring out- raising chickens and harvesting eggs more akin to the way
      one would do in the old days on a farm is actually better than the other way, costs only a little more to
      do, and produces much more desirable results (The eggs are more nutritious, as is the chicken meat- and they
      taste oh, so much better...) for only slightly more retail cost. The same goes for bread, etc. We've improved
      our ways of doing things such that doing things sustainably is more valuable than doing them for the lowest
      costs- and for each and every "cost saving" thing, we damage our health, etc.

      High Fructose Corn Syrup - while it's cheaper than cane sugar and other sweeteners, HFCS makes type II diabetics
      out of people. And we've adulterated the food supply with the damn stuff.

      Nutrasweet - I won't even begin to start on THAT stuff.

      Antibiotics given to animals indescriminately - antibiotic resistant bacteria that cause problems worse than the
      the expense of food would be if you'd back off a little on production.

      When will the food industry wise up? When will someone cashier the FDA as it currently is because
      it doesn't do ANYTHING of what it's supposed to do. It doesn't allow good drugs to be. It doesn't
      allow good food to happen. It doesn't prevent bad drugs from getting on the market. It doesn't
      prevent bad food production practices and additives from getting on the market. But it is the final
      arbiter on things for this country.
      • by Yartrebo (690383)
        "High Fructose Corn Syrup - while it's cheaper than cane sugar and other sweeteners, HFCS makes type II diabetics out of people. And we've adulterated the food supply with the damn stuff."

        Sadly enough, corn syrup isn't even cheaper than cane sugar - it's over twice the cost to make calorie for calorie. The only reason its market price is lower is because the US imposes hefty tariffs on imported cane sugar and heavily subsidizes corn production.
    • Re:Micotil (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:59PM (#18228836) Journal
      I use to work for Monfort's (Greeley co) back in the late 80's. One of the things that I recall was seeing an internal report of the increase of amount of antibiotics on the lots. These animals are in close proximity and then get intermixed with new cattle all the times. Worse, the lots were 10-20 feet apart. Finally, the workers would move from one site to the next with the same equipment. The above guarantees that all new bugs will be introduced into a yard, and then quickly spread. I remember thinking that it would have been far cheaper in the long term to simply change the set-up, but accountants said too much money. But hey, what did I know? I was just a coder with a micro-bio degree and had minimal farming experience growing up. The accountants HAD to be correct.

      Now, I prefer beef that is ranged. I would be nice to not use anti-biotics, but I consider that inhumane.
  • The Big One (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:17PM (#18228468) Homepage
    The Big Thing that's gonna take humans down a notch won't be nuclear attack. It won't be global warming. It'll be a simple bacteria, maybe a version of something common like strep or staph that doctors just can't kill because of simple resistance. I can't wait.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, we survived thousands of years without antibiotics, but *now* we are going to die because we cant use them?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by norton_I (64015)
        No, but we could see a return to plauges that kill 30% of the population, similar to the fraction of Hiroshima killed by the atomic bomb or its immediate aftermath, but affecting entire countries or continents. I think I would call that "the big one". Certianly it would catastrophically disrupt our society and economy, as transportation shut down and businesses providing key services disappeared. We are more reliant on each other than we ever have been in the past.

        That said, it is still unlikely that a d
        • by r00t (33219) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @08:58PM (#18232560) Journal
          With 30% dead, lots of regular jobs are going undone, and regular things aren't being bought.

          The music store only has employees for a few days of the week. They have to shut down on the other days. Nobody wants to be out buying music anyway though. The rent doesn't get paid. The store closes. The landlord now has an empty storefront. That hurts business for his other tenents. Also, he still has to pay his taxes. The Burger King can't staff their place. Do they just close up shop?

          Businesses find themselves needing to shrink and consolidate, fast. That is majorly disruptive. Facilities must be closed. Employees may need to move; some will refuse.

          Everything becomes inefficient as businesses collapse. Shortages come and go, interspersed with surplusses that get wasted.

          Whole towns need to be abandoned. When a small place loses the only food store, the people have to move elsewhere.

          The police are in disarray, just like every other organization. The now-idle masses are starving, bored, irrational, and willing to take great risks because death appears likely anyway. The New Orleans looting was nothing, really. Imagine something like that accross the whole world. There will be no help coming from outside.

          Eventually, the farms aren't tended. The cattle aren't fed. Transportation is unreliable. Fuel may be mostly unavailable. Real food shortages set in.

          Way more than 30% die. Maybe 99% or more. Very few of us have a backyard garden that can completely feed the family.

          People fall back on idiotic superstitions, as they have done since the very first humans.

          Welcome to the Dark Ages II. (this time, Protestant and Islamic)
      • by DogDude (805747)
        All species reach a critical mass at which point disease of some point knocks 'em down to a naturally sustainable level. On the east coast of the US, we have a massive deer overpopulation due to massive amounts of new suburban sprawl, and along came a previously rare disease a few years ago, to kill off a lot of them (which is why you can't buy and human-grade venison that is produced in the US... it all comes out of New Zealand). Parts of the planet are quickly reaching (or have already reached) populati
  • by DrJay (102053) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:22PM (#18228508) Homepage

    It's ironic that in light of the recent analysis [slashdot.org] of the use of the term "evolution" covered here on slashdot that the summary would suggest that the bacteria will "develop a resistance to these drugs." Resistance to the drugs will will evolve, if we're to use the proper term for the process.

    As the original article in that earlier discussion noted, if we'd use the appropriate term when discussing these issues, it's more likely that people will realize that understanding evolution is essential to understand this and a variety of other public health issues, such as emerging diseases, cancer, etc. And maybe, just maybe, science classes would be a touch more likely to teach science without winding up in the court system.

    • by cascino (454769)
      While I agree in principle about the "evolution" argument and education, it's important to note that the overwhelming majority of bacterial acquired resistance has nothing to do with evolution, or random mutation, at least in the present tense. It's a fairly common misconception that there is a "brute force approach" of point mutations across a large (>billions of bacterium) population that somehow constructs a mechanism by which antibiotic resistance is acquired. Even with the selective pressures of a
      • by DrJay (102053)
        Your response depends on the assumption that changes in the frequency of genes within a larger population is not an example of evolution. Population genetics, as a field, would like to disagree. Evolution does not presuppose a specific source of useful variations. In most cases, they do occur without the benefits of horizontal gene transfer, and their origin involves one type of evolutionary study. But the spread of favorable variations is also an evolutionary process, and one that does not assume anyth
    • by Haeleth (414428)

      As the original article in that earlier discussion noted, if we'd use the appropriate term when discussing these issues, it's more likely that people will realize that understanding evolution is essential to understand this
      Silly. It's perfectly obvious that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are specially created by an intelligent designer who is really, really wishing he'd never made that silly promise to Noah.
  • i call bullshit. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:28PM (#18228562)

    This news follows complaints from the FDA that it is no longer getting the funds needed to do the research required for the desired level of food safety.


    how likely do you think it is that the FDA simply cannot get enough fundage to make sure our food is safe? that excuse was provided to keep people focusing on the actual problem.

    im sure alot of people will read this and think 'eh, so what' but it is in fact one of the biggest issues of our lifetimes.

    monsanto has been selling posilac (rBGH) for a long time now, and whats particularly fucked up about this is that posilac is made for one reason- so that each cow produces more milk. why is that so fucked up? because we are, and have been, for a long time, over producing milk. there are MANY companies that pay dairy farmers to produce LESS milk or none at all. so one of the first new products monsanto gives us (since agent orange) is a drug that produces more of what we do not need.

    rBGH causes something called mastitis in cows which is a inflammation of the udders, when this happens the farmer has to start injecting mass amounts of antibiotics to try to keep it under control.

    it is PROVEN (and swept under the carpet) science that we HAVE ALREADY created antibiotic resistant bacteria because of the mass amounts of antibiotics the cows are drugged with. its been known for a long long time now.

    monsanto is a very dangerous company and many people would call me a nutjob for saying so, but you need only look at the facts surrounding how they got this shit approved in the first place to tell that it doesnt pass the smell test.

    when they were trying to get this approved by the FDA they had a researcher named Margaret Miller to put together a report to submit to the FDA concerning the safety of monsanto's growth hormones.
    right before the report was submitted to the FDA Margaret left monsanto and was hired by the FDA. guess what her first job was for the FDA? to approve the report she herself had just written.

    congrats, capitalism.
  • Since the FDA isn't trustworthy, why would anyone care?
  • UK Policy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mr-mafoo (891779) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:33PM (#18228588)

    In the UK we dont immunise animals that are going to end up down the food chain to prevent antibodies from passing down the food chain. And ofcorse to prevent resistant strains of the desieses from forming.

    This is why at the last foot and mouth outbreak we (UK) killed off all the infected stock. France etc treated their animals.

  • by nido (102070) <nido56&yahoo,com> on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:40PM (#18228644) Homepage
    The only reason agribusiness needs these new antibiotics is because they abuse their animals. Cows that are warehoused in feedlots and fed diets unfit for a cow and the stressful lifestyle.

    Animal Stress: A high-grain diet can cause physical problems for ruminants-cud-chewing
    animals such as cattle, dairy cows, goats, bison, and sheep. Ruminants are designed to
    eat fibrous grasses, plants, and shrubs-not starchy, low-fiber grain.
    When they are switched
    from pasture to grain, they can become afflicted with a number of disorders, including a
    common but painful condition called "subacute acidosis." Cattle with subacute acidosis
    kick at their bellies, go off their feed, and eat dirt. To prevent more serious and sometimes
    fatal reactions, the animals are given chemical additives along with a constant, low-level
    dose of antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics are the same ones used in human medicine.
    When medications are overused in the feedlots, bacteria become resistant to them. When
    people become infected with these new, disease-resistant bacteria, there are fewer medi-
    cations available to treat them.

    -Grass Fed Basics [eatwild.com]


    I read something written by natural dairy farmers about their experience helping conventional farmers convert their operations to more sustainable methodology. The converteres were like, "since you can't use antibiotics, what do you do when your cows get sick?" They said that their cows simply don't get sick, because they're properly cared for.

    I haven't needed antibiotics since I fired the Medical-Industrial Complex 7 years ago. I got fed up with their inability to do anything for my chronic ear infections besides antibiotic drops and pills. There is a time and a place for everything, but these drugs certainly don't belong in the regular veterinary repertoire.
  • by novus ordo (843883) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @02:55PM (#18228778) Journal
    What's in that milk [wikipedia.org]?

    "The sale of Posilac is illegal in virtually every developed country with the exception of the United States. Recent studies have shown that lab rats absorbed IGF-1 during the digestive process, which subsequently caused cysts and other cancerous growths to form in the test animals flesh. Despite numerous official requests for the FDA to revoke the approval for Monsanto's product, no such action has been taken thus far."

    Don't try [youtube.com] and tell people though.

    As for FDA, I can't even begin to tell you how [newstarget.com] badly [newstarget.com] it's managed. Thankfully they thought about a perfect side dish to our Dolly steaks [slashdot.org]. Maybe we shouldn't wonder why health care costs are skyrocketing and people are getting fatter...
  • Man, I thought the FDA was more responsible than this. This is such a ridiculously stupid idea. They're basically saying the current health of the cattle outweighs the health of people. This is so incredibly shortsighted. It's precisely this stuff that got us to the point of having antibiotic resistant bacteria. Everyone in the scientific community, particularly the medical community, knows this. How the FDA can be so irresponsible, is beyond me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kalirion (728907)
      They're basically saying the current health of the cattle outweighs the health of people.

      No, they're saying the current health of certain bank accounts and stock portfolios outweighs the health of people.
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:48PM (#18229244)
    Every gram of antibiotics administered is one more gram released into the environment where it will create resistant microbes. The microbes do not care if the antibiotic was administered in tiny doses to a 2-year-old with an ear infection or in massive doses to a 600 pound cow as a feed supplement to make it grow faster and bigger. EVERY antibiotic given to cattle in massive doses has quickly lost its effectiveness in the human population to the point that resistant microbes are now very common. The cow excretes most of the antibiotics into the environment where they create new resistant microbe populations that then migrate worldwide. The public health people hector doctors to avoid giving antibiotic prescriptions unless absolutely necessary and then the FDA does something like this. This is criminally negligent and irresponsible and some people at the FDA need to be brought to trial and thrown into prison.
  • by Vegeta99 (219501) <rjlynn@TIGERgmail.com minus cat> on Sunday March 04, 2007 @03:54PM (#18229292)
    ... because I like studying social change. Maybe there should be some here, read on:

    I did a kind of self experiment starting this school year. I gave up smoking, fast food, etc etc. Not that I was unhealthy by any means, no sir, 16 minute 2 mile i was more than happy with considering the pack a day habit, but I changed what I ate.

    McDick's double cheese burger? Nah. 80/20 lean beef and a george foreman. And a fuckin' apple instead of fries and a shake. Ciggy? No way. How about a glass of water and a deep breath (hey I can do that now!) when I'm stressed out?

    Ya wanna know what happened? That 16 minute mile is well under 14 now. I wake up when the sun's up and I'm moving before the coffee pot even starts, not the other way around.

    The best side effect of all, however, is that i just plain don't. get. sick.

    A cow is supposed to eat grass. A cow's supposed to get a little sick now and then, and if a cow gets really sick, a cow should get really shot and buried. Instead, we decide to feed cows, well, corn and chopped up sick cows.

    Now, if putting good stuff in ME keeps me from getting sick, why would it not work on a cow? Why the HELL isn't the /Food/ and Drug Administration doing something about this? See all them farmers throwing out corn because we paid them to do so? How about you pay them to graze cattle? Subsidize RESPONSIBLE farming and then guess what? It will trickle down the line. If what I put in me is healthier from the start, I get healthier. Oh, and guess what I can do when I feel better? I can produce more. So get on it, you capitalist fucks! It'll make your health care costs go down, too!

    Now, I understand that shit doesn't change that quick. But this isn't about getting cars that shit out water on the roads, this is about eating good. Hybrid cars aren't much different than a regular car, but food that was "grown", not "manufactured" TASTES a hell of a lot better and you can measure results for yourself within weeks. I think we should give it a try.
  • Shouldn't the title read
    "Despite Objections, antibiotic approved for use in cattle",
    or perhaps
    "Over Objections, Antibiotic approved for use in cattle".
    As it is written now, it confused me. It sounded like the objections were complete, and thus the approval (which is not what TFA says).

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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