Maryn Mckenna, The Hidden Link Between Farm Animals and Humans, Wired 9th September 2018
Now a new study, years in the making, goes further than any other to demonstrate that resistant bacteria can move from animals to humans via the meat they become. It also provides a model of how new surveillance systems might reduce that bacterial flow at its source on farms.
It’s just one study, but it possesses outsize significance, because it eliminates the uncertainty at the center of that bacterial flow. Outside of experimental conditions, it’s never been possible to prove that this antibiotic given to that animal gave rise to this bacterium that ended up in that human. But this new work dives so deeply into the genomics of bacterial adaptation in food animals and humans, it proves the link that ag would rather deny.
Through the WI Lens
This is a well researched and informative piece that highlights a study by the American Society for Microbiology that provides evidence: “…that this antibiotic given to that animal gave rise to this bacterium that ended up in that human”
It makes a robust case for both plant based diets, organic meats and/or a notable intervention in the animal rearing process and proves a link that the agricultural industry have tended to deny – that bacterial adaption in food animals and humans exist. Earlier studies lacked evidence that meat strains and human infections were linked, not just in time and location but in movement from animal to person.
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”
“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”
“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”
“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.
The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.