Is factory farming killing us?
The overuse of antimicrobials in animal farming contributes to the spread of superbugs and reduces the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating the infections these superbugs cause in both humans and animals.
Superbugs develop on factory farms because animals are kept in cramped, squalid, stressful conditions and fed antibiotics to stave off disease. These vital drugs are used to prop up extreme cruelty – without them, many animals wouldn’t survive.
But when antibiotics are used too often, they can eventually stop working as bacteria mutate to resist them.
These superbugs can then spread to people, causing lethal infections with no known cure.
Superbugs are a deadly threat
By 2050, an estimated 10 million deaths per year globally will be caused by superbugs (bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat infections), with an overall economic cost of US$100 trillion.
Superbugs are already a deadly threat to people, killing an estimated 1.27 million people a year worldwide, but how does overuse of antibiotics on factory farms impact the health of humans in the UK?
This study calculates the human health and economic burden of the use of antibiotics on farms.
Why we have to act now
We could be sleepwalking into a new pandemic. Without effective antibiotics, diseases that can now be easily treated with a prescription may become life-threatening. A simple cut or minor surgery could be fatal.Read our full report
In 2023 nearly 2,000 deaths in the UK are predicted to occur due to infection with resistant E. coli and Salmonella associated with antibiotic use in factory farms, bacteria commonly found in farmed animals and animal products we consume.
The economic losses in the UK due to this will amount to over £1.3 billion in 2023, and that amount is set to rise if we continue to use the current level of antibiotics on farms.
What you can do
Antibiotics are one of the most important tools we have to save lives and protect people’s health. Yet worldwide, 75% of these drugs are used on factory farms.
We urgently need to stop factory farms using antibiotics to prop up poor animal welfare and push for safer, more humane farming methods. The EU has already banned the routine use of antibiotics on farm animals, so we know it’s possible. Now, the UK must do the same.
Will you sign an open letter to the government calling for a ban on the preventative use of antibiotics on farms?
Sign the open letter today
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