Health hazard: antibiotics in animal fattening

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Antibiotics in the barn are becoming increasingly dangerous for people

The use of antibiotics in animal fattening is becoming increasingly dangerous. This is shown by a new study by the Tumor Center Aachen on behalf of the Greens. Accordingly, 6.4 million German pathogens now carry within them, which can no longer be controlled with most antibiotics. These so-called multi-resistant germs cause between 10,000 and 30,000 deaths each year, as the "Abendzeitung München" reports.

Many antibiotics are ineffective against multidrug-resistant germs. Antibiotics have long been considered a kind of general-purpose weapon against infections. Since they are increasingly used in animal fattening, however, more and more pathogens are developing resistance to the drugs. So-called multi-resistant germs, against which a large number of antibiotics are ineffective, lead to numerous deaths every year in German intensive care units. Because when antibiotics are no longer effective, doctors are often powerless. Experts are therefore calling for a change of course away from factory farming in agricultural policy.

A study by the Tumor Center Aachen on behalf of the Greens shows that 6.4 million Germans now carry multi-resistant germs, as the newspaper reports. Anyone can transmit these germs, even if the antibiotics were taken some time ago. In healthy people, the pathogens do not normally cause serious illnesses. However, if they get into the body of a person with a weakened immune system, such as in an intensive care unit, the multi-resistant germs can result in serious damage and even death to the patient. Typical consequences of infection with these pathogens can include severe infections from surgical wounds, blood poisoning (sepsis) and pneumonia.

A special property of multidrug-resistant germs is particularly problematic: through resistance-mediating genes, they can also transfer their resistance to other germs against which antibiotics were previously effective.

Excessive use of antibiotics in factory farming causes antibiotic resistance Antibodies are used regularly in factory farming. Since in the conventional animal fattening innumerable animals are kept crammed together in a confined space, the animals are particularly susceptible to diseases. To prevent this and prevent the entire population from becoming infected, the animals are given antibiotics as a precaution. In addition, some antibiotics have a growth-promoting effect that some farmers - even if not allowed - should take advantage of. There is also another economic aspect. Veterinarians make money from prescribing antibiotics. As a result, it stands to reason that many are not frugal with prescribing these drugs.

According to the study, the multi-resistant germs could be particularly dangerous for people who have frequent and close contact with affected animals. As the "MDR" reports, the Green Group leader Bärbel Höhn is calling for legal regulation so that "only individual animals can be treated for symptoms". The politician describes the system of factory farming as a "ticking time bomb for human health". (ag)

Image: Uschi Dreiucker /

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