According to an article in Small Farm Canada magazine, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, 10 million people will die due to antibiotic resistance, which is more than from cancer. Furthermore, health care costs associated with antibiotic resistance will cost the global economy $100 trillion.
As if that weren't enough, animal disease outbreaks are expected to rise, creating food shortages and higher food prices.
This reminds me of an interesting radio interview I had with host Pat Buchanan shortly after Bill Clinton entered the White House. Conservatives were making fun of Clinton's elitism because his chef announced that he would use free range chickens. Buchanan looked around for a free range supplier in the Washington D.C. area and of course found Polyface.
He interviewed me on his radio show and his first question was what made our chickens different than the regular industrial birds in factory houses. My pithy answer: "Our birds don't do drugs."
He asked why the industry fed drugs. Of course, I had a longer response planned, but he cut me off after I only got to "It makes them grow faster."
"What could possibly be wrong with making them growth faster?" he queried, making fun of me and obviously enjoying making a fool of yet another earth stewardship-minded person.
Lots of things are wrong with growing faster. In fact, cancer is fast growth. That he could not imagine anything wrong with speed, or going faster, was almost beyond my ability to comprehend. He cut me off immediately and that was the end of the interview. I'm sure he thought I was another nut case earth muffin sitting around a yoga session singing kumbaya.
But here we are, a couple of decades later, and speed has caught up with us. Just think of this report: antibiotic resistance is more costly than cancer. It's unthinkable almost. If there is one food and health issue that is absolutely and completely human-caused, this is it. Completely unnecessary. Completely based on hubris and the law of unintended consequences.
Do you know how great a feeling it is knowing that none of these costs will be borne by customers of my beef, poultry, pork, and eggs? Nada. None. And that all of my customers can sleep easy tonight knowing they are immune from the killer that exceeds cancer? That's worth celebrating.
How is your clean meat sourcing coming along?