Is your chicken meal hurting immunity?

Scientists raise concern over frequent and irresponsible use of antibiotics by animal farm industry

Updated - June 17, 2016 12:28 am IST

Published - November 04, 2015 12:00 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Bangalore  31/10/2012 :A  Pirvate poultry farm at madappanahalli near heseraghatta in bangalore. Due to Bird flu the poultry farmers around 10 km from CPDO infected site were instructed not to sell their birds.  this village is around 8km away from the bird infected site CPDO.
 Photo by Intern Photographer: Harini Shibaraya

Bangalore 31/10/2012 :A Pirvate poultry farm at madappanahalli near heseraghatta in bangalore. Due to Bird flu the poultry farmers around 10 km from CPDO infected site were instructed not to sell their birds. this village is around 8km away from the bird infected site CPDO. Photo by Intern Photographer: Harini Shibaraya

Frequent and irresponsible use of antibiotics by the animal farm industry is leading to difficulties in treating common bacterial infections as well as post-surgery infections, a panel of scientists warned at a meeting organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on antibiotic resistance, on Tuesday.

Dr. Chand Wattal, senior consultant in the Department of Microbiology at Ganga Ram Hospital said: “The irrational use of antibiotics in humans and animals is going to put us in a huge quandary, and human health in particular is at stake.”

Highlighting growing concern about drug resistance, Dr Wattal said: “We need to preserve the existing antibiotics since we cannot afford the new expensive molecules whenever they come. It is more relevant for us than other nations to preserve the current antibiotics.”

The discussion saw the participation of medical doctors, neonatologists, gastroenterologists, urologist, microbiologists and pharmacologist, veterinarians and those from public health and environmental fields. Issues related to large-scale use of antibiotics in animal farm industry for growth promotion and disease prevention and how the overall consumption of antibiotics in India is growing were discussed.

Pointing out the existence of a dangerous gap in India’s regulatory approach and preparedness to handle the looming public health crisis Prof. N. K. Mahajan of Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Hisar, said: “Judicious use of antibiotics will be in the interest of poultry farmers because they themselves are facing the problem.”

“They constantly complain that the antibiotics they use are not working well and hence keep adding on to what is being already given to the birds. Farmers are unaware and need to be educated on bio-security measures. Use of antibiotics in feed can be regulated through the Drugs Control department,” Prof. Mahajan said.

Emphasising on how antibiotic resistant bacteria can change the disease in neonates (new born babies) and affect them for the rest their lives, Dr. Neelam Kler, senior consultant in Neonatology at Ganga Ram Hospital said: “We are changing the whole microbiota by irrational use of antibiotics. “Children are born with resistance to certain antibiotics. This not only affects the treatment of infectious diseases but is also now being linked to other types of non-communicable diseases like obesity later on in life.”

CSE has recommended an urgent drop in the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. “This has been discussed for the past many years. There is an action plan with the government. We need this to be implemented. In 2010, CSE had done a study on antibiotic residue in honey and in 2014 it tested chicken meat for antibiotics. We have to work towards ensuring the health of our future generations,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE.

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