Ask Walmart to Support Healthier Animal Farming | Civil Eats

Ask Walmart to Support Healthier Animal Farming

Today, together with Causes.Com, I’m launching a new petition to take on what government officials and medical experts are increasingly calling a growing threat to public health: The overuse of antibiotics on animal farms. The petition is expected to reach as many as a half million Internet viewers this week. Petition signers are asking Walmart’s CEO, Mike Duke, to demand that its meat suppliers only use medically necessary antibiotics when an animal is sick, rather than to prevent sickness because animals are crammed in conditions that breed infection.

At present, concentrated animal feeding operations, or factory farms, routinely administer low doses of antibiotics to livestock in feed and water. The practice, long defended by the meat industry, poses significant associated health risks. Continual exposure to unnecessary antibiotics eventually makes disease organisms like E. Coli and Salmonella resistant to critical, life saving drugs.

Many of the antibiotics used in factory animal farming are the same types of drugs used to treat people when they are sick. When humans are exposed to these new antibiotic- resistant superbugs, there’s a real risk the drugs previously relied on to kill the disease will no longer work.This means if you get sick, antibiotics might no longer make you better, and we’re seeing this happen already.

Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a landmark report warning that antibiotics are being over-applied and potentially squandered, both in human medicine as well as livestock production, which is responsible for over 70 percent of all antibiotic use in the United States. The CDC report claims that “much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe.”

For decades, health officials have called for a phase-out of the practice of administering antibiotics to compensate for high concentrations of animals in conditions ripe for breeding disease. Antibiotics, they argue, should be used only with a medical need and veterinary consult. But Congress and the Food and Drug Administration have been unwilling to regulate the powerful meat industry.

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Please join me in asking Walmart, as the country’s largest and most powerful food retailer, to use its market clout to protect antibiotics—one of humankind’s most valuable medical resources—and support healthier meat production in the process. The future of our planet and ourselves is at stake.

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Dan Imhoff is the author of multiple books about the food system, including Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill and CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, (winner of the Nautilus 2011 Gold Prize for Investigative Reporting). Find out more at Read more >

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  1. Ana
    I am assuming you do not consume your own products? I mean, how could you? Knowing everything that goes on.. I would never eat it either.
    I know you just care about your business, "means to an end" sort of thing. Not that I expect you to care about others, no one does, but out of respect for human (and animal) life please make some regulations!
    Increase the size for animals in the farm, reduce the number of farm animals, increase the price. Simple! It will reduce the cost, no extra antibiotics, animals will be sick less frequently, minimizing the need for medicine. Please consider! Or do something. ANYTHING!
  2. I signed because I agree with Dan Imhoff that industrialized animal agriculture is one of the core disasters in our food system today. He has rightly focused on the contribution of factory farms to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are the linchpin that keeps CAFO's from imploding with disease. But there is more nastiness associated with them: mass water and air pollution, cruelty to animals, human heart disease and the industrial corn and soy complex, which rests on GE-seeds and leads to massive soil erosion and destructive monoculture, could all be addressed if Walmart and other retailers said that is enough to the factory farmers. But Walmart and the others (like Traders Joe's which is currently resisting an NRDC campaign) won't say that is enough to unless they see a credible threat to their profits. This petition could help create that credible threat. Please sign and share with others!
  3. Joan m Little
    If Walmart requested this, we might actually see some change.
  4. Lauren
    If you provide it, we'll eat it!
  5. Peter Martin
    Please read and act accordingly.

  6. cassie
  7. Lily Shepherd
  8. Kelly Hunsucker
    Please take care of your consumers and help us be healthier
  9. Paul Hansrote
    Please protect our precious, and dwindling resource - antibiotics. Please only purchase from meat suppliers who only use medically necessary antibiotics when an animal is sick, rather than to prevent sickness because animals are crammed in conditions that breed infection.
  10. Lou Rotondi
    Stop the overuse of antibiotics on farm animals. It is making both animals and people more sick. We need to change the system so that animals don't need to be pumped up with drugs in order to survive until they're slaughtered. They need to be in a healthy environment, with fresh air and natural feed. If that means less meat for people to eat, so be it. We eat too much meat as it is, we could stand to cut back. Big time.
  11. Marlene Williamson
    I have not shopped at Walmart in many years because of the way they treat employees, abuse animals and have a total disregard for the environment. Owning up to the horrendus abuse of the animals on the factory farms that provide them their meat would be a start.
  12. Nick Doland
    Stop the antibiotics in our meat. Be humane.
  13. Katherine Wiranowski
    You have the opportunity to greatly impact many areas of our lives with your high level managerial decisions. More and more business models are showing increased profits as a result of positive social impact. Please take action that will help your customers and your bottom line. Thank you.

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