The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
3 Reasons Why Tyson's Antibiotic-Free Chicken Is a Big Deal
Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. poultry producer, has announced plans to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chickens by September 2017—one of the most aggressive timelines set so far by an American poultry company, according to The Guardian.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The company has been working on decreasing antibiotic use for years now, but was forced to get even more aggressive when one of its biggest customers, McDonald's, announced last month that it plans to stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics that are also used in humans. Higher levels of antibiotic use in animal agriculture has been linked to the rise in "superbugs," antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose a serious threat to human health.
“Antibiotic resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods, in a press statement. “We’re confident our meat and poultry products are safe, but want to do our part to responsibly reduce human antibiotics on the farm.” Tyson also said that they plan to phase out these antibiotics in pigs, turkeys and cattle, as well.
Decreasing the amount of antibiotics used in animal agriculture will ultimately improve the health and well being of animals raised for food, as well as the health and well being of humans. But it's also a boon for small producers, says Christian Science Monitor. Since Tyson and other major producers including Perdue and Pilgrim’s have cut their usages drastically, it will now be financially easier for smaller producers and restaurants to make the shift.
“Economically, other companies will say: 'We can follow this model,'” Gail Hansen, a public health veterinarian and senior officer of antibiotic resistance with Pew Charitable Trusts, told Christian Science Monitor on the heels of McDonald’s announcement last month.
Reducing the use of antibiotics in chicken is just the beginning. The Natural Resource Defense Council recently gathered a panel of experts to discuss the dangers of antibiotic overuse. The experts examined the growing issue of antibiotic resistance, how animal farming practices are making things worse and what we can do to solve the problem.
Listen to this Marketplace segment to see why it will be harder to phase out antibiotics in pigs and cattle:
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The human-caused climate crisis could cause the extinction of 30 percent of the world's plant and animal species by 2070, even accounting for species' abilities to disperse and shift their niches to tolerate hotter temperatures, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
By Tyler Wells Lynch
For years, Toni Genberg assumed a healthy garden was a healthy habitat. That's how she approached the landscaping around her home in northern Virginia. On trips to the local gardening center, she would privilege aesthetics, buying whatever looked pretty, "which was typically ornamental or invasive plants," she said. Then, in 2014, Genberg attended a talk by Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware. "I learned I was actually starving our wildlife," she said.