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Come down hard on those using antibiotics to fatten livestock

By Editorial | November 16th 2018 at 08:53:35 GMT +0300

The warning by the Ministry of Health that the fight against viral and bacterial infections would be lost soon due to too much antibiotics ingested through food is alarming.

The ministry’s claim that farmers are using antibiotics to fatten their animals so as to fetch higher prices in the market is a demonstration of how the motivation for a quick shilling has driven farmers to brazenly engage in unethical practice. According to the ministry, farmers use penicillin and tetracycline in high doses on chicken, pork and beef and in the process, consumers ingest them.

These two are a combined dosage for the treatment of common bacterial infections including sore throat, cholera, acne, and syphilis.  

As a result of their unregulated use in chicken and cows, treatment against common infections such as sore throat will be muted, leading to disability and even death as our bodies refuse to respond to antibiotic treatment.

The abuse of antibiotics by farmers should not be treated as mere ignorance on the side of the farmers (as claimed by the Government) but rather a deliberate drug abuse in the race for profits.

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It reflects the human strive to self-destruction amid the quest for economic progress, which essentially is self-defeatist. It also speaks of the Government's failure to effect the necessary prohibitive regulations that should protect the interests of consumers.

The thing is, we are inclined to be driven by the mad and brutal force of capitalism.

But then, has capitalism turned us into savages who do not care any more about the means but are obsessed with the end, regardless of damage caused in the process?

But most shocking is that the Ministry of Health dismissively claim farmers are not aware of the dangers of using antibiotics to fatten animals. Have they listed antibiotics as animal feed or part of a treatment regime? What are they doing to stop the abuse of antibiotics? And why isn’t the Kenya Bureau of Standards checking the standards of the products in the market?

But first things first. Farmers should be made to understand the danger they put everyone in their quest to fatten their animals; authorities should encourage them to seek alternative fattening feed in the market.

Secondly, government should sponsor legislation that prohibits and spells out punitive punishment for the diversion of medicine from its intended use especially to defenceless creatures like domestic animals.

Finally, we should heed Joseph Conrad’s caution about the human strive to self-destruction

Livestock Ministry of Health Antibiotics
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