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
England's Somerset county can now boast its first beaver dam in more than 400 years.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Alex McInturff, Christine Wilkinson and Wenjing Xu
What is the most common form of human infrastructure in the world? It may well be the fence. Recent estimates suggest that the total length of all fencing around the globe is 10 times greater than the total length of roads. If our planet's fences were stretched end to end, they would likely bridge the distance from Earth to the Sun multiple times.
Early advertisement for barbed wire fencing, 1880-1889. The advent of barbed wire dramatically changed ranching and land use in the American West by ending the open range system. Kansas Historical Society / CC BY-ND
The authors assembled a conservative data set of potential fence lines across the U.S. West. They calculated the nearest distance to any given fence to be less than 31 miles (50 kilometers), with a mean of about 2 miles (3.1 kilometers). McInturff et al,. 2020 / CC BY-ND
- 'This Is Not Like a Fence in a Backyard' — Trump's Border Wall vs ... ›
- New Border Wall Construction Threatens 8 Species With Extinction ... ›
Climate change is making ancient Hopi farming nearly impossible, threatening not just the Tribe's staple food source, but a pillar of its culture and religion, the Arizona Republic reports.
- These Are the Challenges Facing India's Most Sacred River ... ›
- Oil Spill Causes 'Major Disaster' for Ganges River Dolphins ... ›
By Kenny Stancil
An expert panel of top international and environmental lawyers have begun working this month on a legal definition of "ecocide" with the goal of making mass ecological damage an enforceable international crime on par with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
- Are the Amazon Fires a Crime Against Humanity? - EcoWatch ›
- 'Her Work Will Live On': Climate Movement Mourns Loss of Ecocide ... ›