Date: September 17th, 2009

Back in July, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein gave us a terrific piece on the connection between meat laden diets and global warming. (The DawnWatch alert on that piece is at Yesterday, Wednesday September 16, his column, on the front page of the Washington Post food section,
(Pg E01) was titled, "Just Say No To Antibacterial Burgers."

The article discusses an impending health crisis, as the lifesaving antibiotics on which we rely become useless due to overuse on animals raised for food. The livestock industry is causing the growth of antibiotic resistant super-bugs. (Thanking the Monkey covers this on p194.)

Klein tells us:
"Food animal production accounts for 70 percent -- 70 percent! -- of the antibiotics used in the United States. That doesn't even include the antibiotics used for animals that actually get sick. That figure is for 'non-therapeutic use' such as growth promotion and disease prevention."

While focused on the danger to human health, Klein's piece includes points about the conditions in which animals are raised for food. He writes:

"The heavy reliance on routine antibiotic use is a byproduct of the way we raise animals for food: packed into dim and dirty enclosures where they live amid their own filth, eat food that they haven't evolved to digest, and are pretty much stacked atop one another. Most human beings I know can hardly spend three hours on a plane without contracting a case of the sniffles."

We learn that Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has introduced H.R. 1549: the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009.

Slaughter says: "The bill preserves the seven most effective classes of antibiotics for human use only. They can be used to treat sick animals, but they can't be used to simply raise animals."

To objections raised regarding the bills likely impact on the cost of meat Slaughter responds:

"That really is a strange defense. We keep animals in such deplorable conditions that they'll become sick as a dog if we don't dose them?"

The whole article is informative and well worth reading. You can check it out on line at

OR at

Please do, and then email it to all of your friends, both to spread the word and because papers notice which articles get the most forwards. And please leave a comment there on the web page.

Most importantly, the column opens the door for letters to the editor about the ills of factory farming and/or the joys of plant-based diets. Please take this opportunity to keep that discussion alive on the Post's editorial page.

The Washington Post takes letters at

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published.

If you would like to thank Klein directly for the column, you can reach him at kleine@washpost.comor through his blog at

I send thanks to Gail Wageley for making sure we saw this piece.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

Please go to for a fun celeb-studded promo video and information on Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of 2008." And check out Karen's new blog at !

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Date: Thu Sep 17 18:21:56 2009

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