If you’re the kind of person who’s been fighting for a rational debate about politics and governance, you should have already hung up your gloves. The fight is over—It’s probably been over for a long time. Trust me, I found that rational debate in America is almost impossible to come by. I worked at a toy store during the holiday season.
I hate to be a scrooge during the holiday season, but there are two days left in the year. And I’m celebrating my New Year’s cynicism early this time around. The FDA’s decision is a loss for all Americans, but here’s a rhyme that’ll lighten things up and help you understand the issue at hand. And here’s my Solja Boy version of a political, holiday rhyme:
In the days before Christmas, Washington slept through the night, the FDA reneged on banning antibiotics on farm animals without even a fight.
But really though, the US Food and Drug Administration posted a statement in the Federal Register stating it would not pursue a ban on the use of antibiotics on farm animals—An endeavor the FDA said it would fight for back in 1977.
What the FDA basically said in their statement was that it would hand over its duty of regulating industries and protecting the public’s interest to the reigns Monsanto and other agriculture, farming giants. To summarize the Food and Drug Pushing Administration’s statement, they don’t want to pursue the ban because they need current data so they’ll have a good case that will hold up in court should they ever choose to pursue what they said they would in 1977. Say what now? See, that’s what these people do. They mess up, screw people over, bend over backwards to the big time players and try to cover their asses by getting a few well-paid lawyers to write a bunch of paragraphs that could have been condensed to a few sentences. They could have just said:
Sorry America, we will not prevent the spread of superbugs around the world because of a practice that is known to be linked to the creation of antibiotic immune viruses. We failed this time around because we didn’t have the balls to stand up to companies that have a lot of money and power.
There is more than enough evidence to support the ban of antibiotics in farm animals. There is at least enough evidence to make this an urgent and substantive debate on Capitol Hill. A lot of microbiologists agree that giving antibiotics to farm animals is an unacceptable and dangerous practice because one, we have a limited number of antibiotics and they should be saved for people in need of them. And two, it’s use in animals is linked to the creation of superbugs. This is such a concern for scientists, Europe has banned its use since 2005.
The scope of the problem is so large, 29 million pounds of antibiotics are given to farm animals through their feed. This represents 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US. Those numbers should speak volumes. The potential of a biological outbreak in near the future is something we need to address as a country and world.
But all hope is not lost. The FDA has a history of bending to the pressure of scientists and consumer groups. But that’s only when enough pressure is applied. So it’s time to wake up, use our social media, write our blogs, spread the word, curb our consumption and apply pressure to the corporations that are not operating within the confines of nature. Recently, the courts have also shown an interest in science over the desires of corporations and federal agencies.
And last but certainly not least, we have the power of Occupy Wall Street behind us. Whether you like how they look and smell or not, they’ve changed the conversation in Washington from debt and spending to jobs, income inequality, lobbying and the unethical practices of for profit multinational corporation. If you don’t believe in the power of OWS, just ask Bank of America, GoDaddy and other SOPA supporters and backers of the Keystone XL Pipeline.