90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Rep. Louise Slaughter On Antibiotics, Meat And Superbugs

In our second hour today, we talked about our antibiotics, our meat and our superbugs. If ever there was a miracle drug, a medicine that changed our lives, it is the antibiotic. Precious stuff, right? “Husband it! Use with care!” So you’d think. 

But 80 percent of all the antibiotics we pump out these days goes into animals and animal feed — cows, hogs, chickens, turkeys and more across America, chowing down daily on antibiotics in their feed. To make them grow faster. To allow them to live in crowded conditions. Health officials are clanging the alarm bell, saying that is overuse that is breeding antibiotic-resistant superbugs that we can’t stop, that kill. The meat industry says, “chill out.”

Even our hour wasn’t enough, more wrinkles in the complex story — that goes from pharmaceutical companies to the barn to the grocery store to homes and hospitals — than we could get to. There were some great callers who never made it on air, and our guests had more great points to make than they could get to.

You can listen to the full show here, but our guest, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), set the tone right out of the gate, saying Americans should be much more alarmed than they are:

Studies have shown people would be willing to pay 5 cents more a pound to get rid of [antibiotics in animal feed]. We have to get rid of that! Look, what’s the option? We just go ahead and let all antibiotics [become] unusable? That we could reach a point where strep throat could be a fatal disease? Do we want to go to that? … We are destroying one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we are enjoying the benefit from. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Slaughter says the big agricultural farms are the biggest obstacle because they can get a few extra pounds of meat — and profit — by putting antibiotics in animal feed. She also blames the FDA for not regulating the meat industry.

She says she been trying for many years to get bills passed into law requiring disclosure from big farms as to what they are feeding their livestock, and banning eight different antibiotics key to human health out of animal feed. How close is she to getting her bills passed?  “Nowhere,” Slaughter said.

What does she want? “I want [Speaker] John Boehner to put [the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act] on the floor.”

Listen here to Slaughter on On Point:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

 
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Three: What Is The Dow Jones Industrial Average?
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We dig in to that all-important, all-confusing daily stock notice: the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 31, 2014
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

We tumble for ya, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Tuco the Massachusetts K-9 Unit puppy in training.

More »
1 Comment
 
Awards Season 2014: The Movies Worth Your Time
Friday, Oct 31, 2014

What movies should you watch before 2014 comes to a close? Our critics offer their picks for the movies of the season right here.

More »
Comment