Advocates of the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act (PARA) Senate Bill 1256, which calls for an end to antibiotic use in animal agriculture, have been sending in letters and signatures showing their support for the bill.
One specific case of a mother from Maryland puts a spotlight on the antibiotics resistance issue. The mother, a woman named Nicole from Kensington, Maryland, developed an antibiotic-resistant infection despite the fact that she grows her own vegetables and only eats organic.
“It’s very painful,” Nicole said. “You’re supposed to work through it… but it got worse and worse. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain became a 30.”
Doctors put Nicole on antibiotics, but had to scramble when they didn’t work. The doctors then discovered antibiotic-resistant MRSA in her breast, which spread to the nursing mother’s breast milk, putting her newborn baby at risk as well.
“It was devastating to me… the worst thing for me, worse than the pain, was being told I couldn’t breastfeed anymore. They robbed me of that experience with my child,” said Nicole.
After more than four months, Nicole finally beat the antibiotic-resistant infection. However, Nicole is not alone. More than 2 million Americans suffer from antibiotic-resistant infections every year, and at least 23,000 people die from their illnesses.
Upon learning about her story, the organization Food and Water Watch has started a campaign to support bills like PARA, which would stop factory farms’ misuse of antibiotics.
Says Food and Water Watch: “People like Nicole shouldn’t have to go through that kind of ordeal and miss out on some of the most valuable and rewarding experiences of their lives just so factory farms can cut corners and turn a bigger profit.”
Advocates of PARA and similar bills say that factory farms are veritable breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In factory farms, animals are given regular doses of antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent disease in the overcrowded and often dirty living conditions. However, this can create superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.
Currently, the factory farming industry uses 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States.
If you would like to sign the petition to end the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms, you can do so here: Congress: End the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms