It's Enough to Make You Sick

Scientist Finds Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Chicken Feed

"A University of Maryland researcher [Dr. Glen Morris] who recently found a vancomycin-resistant bacteria in a single bag of commercially produced chicken feed views the finding as a warning sign of the growing penetration of highly resistant bacteria throughout the environment and has urged closer attention to be paid to antibiotic use in animals and humans. . . .

'The identification of a highly resistant enterococal strain in feed raises disturbing questions about the potential for penetration of VRE [vancomycin-resistant enterococci] strains into farms and food animal production in the U.S. and subsequent risk of transfer into human populations,' Morris wrote in a recent letter to The Lancet, a British medical journal." (Excerpt from Feedstuffs, March 15, 1999: 5; reported in The New York Times and The Lancet, Feb. 26, 1999).

Salmonella-Infested Chicken Dinner Poisons Firemen

"Health officials in Kent County [Maryland] have confirmed that five people* contracted salmonella poisoning at a firemen's chicken dinner last month [March] and suspect that 18 others were sickened at the event. . . . Four of those who became sick required hospitalization. One, an elderly man, was reported in critical condition. Dr. John A. Grant, the Kent County health officer, said infants and the elderly are especially vulnerable to bacteria such as salmonella, a microscopic bacteria found in animal or human feces. It can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever [and death]." (Excerpt from the ASSOCIATED PRESS report in the Montgomery Journal [Maryland], April 6, 1999)

*On April 13, the number was boosted to more than 50 people believed sick.

The Sickness and Suffering Are Linked

"Chicken . . . is widely considered a benign part of a healthful diet. But the July/August 1996 issue of The Animals' Agenda, an animal-rights publication, Dr. Karen Davis describes the inhumane conditions under which the majority of industry- raised chickens in this country survive. Of the 2.4 million egg- laying hens in the United States, Davis wrote, over 97 percent are confined in cages in which four to nine hens have a total average space of 48 square inches per hen. 'Modern poultry . . . are confined by the thousands in stressful, densely packed houses permeated with excrement in the form of accumulated droppings, feed ingredients and excretory ammonia fumes. Disease is inevitable.'

"Davis goes on to quote a May 1991 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported that every week, "millions of chickens leaking yellow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria or marred by lung and heart infections, cancerous tumors or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers.'" (Excerpt from Cover Story: "The changing face of farming in America," National Catholic Reporter, February 12, 1999: 13+)