The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found out through a new study that the rampant use of antibiotics in the poultry industry might have led to a high rate of antibiotic-resistance in Indians.
The findings of the study, which have been published in the Down to Earth magazine, shows high levels of six kinds of antibiotics in the muscle, liver and kidney of 40 percent of the chicken samples used.
The CSE researchers took a sample tissue of muscle, liver and kidney each, from 70 different places in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. They ran tests for six different kinds of antibiotics (commonly used in poultries) on these chickens. They found residues of five of these antibiotics in these chicken tissues. This is the largest study of its kind, according to the CSE.
Through this research, the CSE found that during the lifespan of the chickens (35-42 days), they are pumped full of antibiotics. What's more shocking is that even chickens that are not sick are given these pills. The antibiotics are mixed into the chicken feed, which the little birds devour quite happily. Many of these poultries use these antibiotics just to ensure that the chickens grow to a big size.
So, How is the Antibiotic Harming You?
Since the chickens are pumped full of antibiotics throughout their lives, the bacteria inside them tend to develop antibiotic-resistant properties. These bacteria, gets transferred to the body of the human beings who eat this chicken. This bacteria, later goes on to multiply within the body of the humans, and makes the intake of antibiotics redundant within them.
While the simple use of antibiotics could have proved to be the cure for certain ailments, the people who have turned antibiotic-resistant, have to go for treatment that is much more expensive.
CSE believes that new kinds of antibiotics need to be developed, for them to work again, something which has not been done since the 1980s. Two million people, in the US, suffer from being resistant to antibiotics, while around 23,000 of them die every year. The special treatment for antibiotic resistant people costs around $20 billion, annually, in the US alone. While such data is not available in India, it is believed that widespread use of antibiotics in poultry would cause more damage to the common man.
The CSE has urged the government to ban the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry. They have also drawn comparisons to the regulations prevalent in the European Union (which has banned antibiotics in poultry) and the WHO (which recommends that antibiotics should not be used in animals, since they are critical for humans), in this regard.