Antibiotics in South African meat

What you should know about the meat on supermarket shelves.

03 Oct 2014

Raising animals for food within factory farmed conditions has some dire consequences on animal well-being and our environment. Cattle, sheep, pigs, and chicken experience pain and suffering before their eventual death and are also responsible for about 51% of all Greenhouse gases around the world.

However, an issue that sometimes goes unreported is the use of antibiotics in livestock. The South African Medical Journal has reported that about two-thirds of antibiotics is administered through animal feed.

South Africans raise and slaughter 2 billion animals for consumption each year. We eat a staggering 2.5 million chickens every single day! The majority of these animals are kept in intensive industrialised farms in order to increase the efficiency of meat production and these conditions aid the spread of disease.

According to Compassion in World Farming South Africa, “26 million laying hens are confined in battery cages in South Africa. In a battery cage, hens have an allotted space allowance of 450 sq cm per hen (less than an A4 sheet of paper)”. Antibiotics are used to mitigate the spread of disease and promote the growth of the animals we eat, this practice which started in the USA in 1900s is now common place around the world.  

Concerns about widespread use of antibiotics in livestock are centred around the  increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. The Natural Resources Defence Council, a US based organisation, have simply said that “Meat + Drugs = Superbugs“.

Researchers in the United States found that 53 percent of raw chicken samples were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant E. coli. South Africa is no different, a study done by the African Journal of Animal production and Husbandry found that there is a real growing problem of antibiotic resistance in South Africa and with high burden of infectious diseases.
The overuse of antibiotics in livestock is ticking time-bomb which needs to be addressed by the agriculture industry.

In the meantime you can choose an alternative which is not only meat, egg and dairy free but contains zero antibiotics. Our range of foods is a high protein alternative which is hassle-free and will allow you to give up meat without giving up on taste.

Looking to try Meat Free Monday? Why not download our FREE Food Made Good eCookbook now!

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