Pigs in China
On March 15, 2011, World Consumer Rights Day, the clenbuterol pork scandal
was exposed in China and shocked meat-lovers with this health-threatening “lean meat powder” used to make animals grow muscle rather than fat. But in addition to being directly consumed, chemical residues from the livestock industry can affect our health via more diverse and complicated pathways.
We know that frequent use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections can lead to resistance, to such an extent that the drug is no longer effective. Recently, research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal revealed
that, antibiotics and heavy metals fed to pigs have significantly raised the level of antibiotic resistant microbes in the animals’ manure, manure compost, and soil. Today, China is the largest producer and consumer of antibiotics, with major buyers from the livestock industry. In large- and middle-scale factory farms
, antibiotics and metal feed additives are applied frequently and at high doses for growth promotion and disease control.