Date: January 11th, 2012

The Wednesday, January 11, New York Times has an editorial (the newspaper editorial board's official opinion) on the widespread use of antibiotics in the US food supply, titled "F.D.A. Creeps Forward." (p A22)

It opens with:
"Last week, the Food and Drug Administration took a small step toward reducing the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, a practice that creates drug-resistant pathogens and threatens the effectiveness of some antibiotics in human medicine. It restricted the use of a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins. Because they require a prescription, farm veterinarians use them less than other antibiotics, like penicillin.

"While the move is important, it is far from sufficient. In 2008, the F.D.A. proposed to tightly limit the use of cephalosporins, but this new rule falls well short of that, thanks to intense lobbying by farm and pharmaceutical industries."

You'll find the editorial on line at It is worth reading and sharing widely.

The perfect compliment to the piece is Mark Bittman's latest New York Times blog, titled "We’re Eating Less Meat. Why?"

Bittman notes a steady drop in meat consumption in the US and tells us that the Daily Livestock Report suggests that the government has been "wag[ing] war on meat protein consumption" over the last 30-40 years. Bittman comments on that by sharing what he sees:

"a history of subsidies for the corn and soy that’s fed to livestock
a nearly free pass on environmental degradation and animal abuse
an unwillingness to meaningfully limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed
a failure to curb the stifling power that corporate meatpackers wield over smaller ranchers
and what amounts to a refusal — despite the advice of real, disinterested experts, true scientists in fact — to unequivocally tell American consumers that they should be eating less meat."

Bittman's blog is on line at

Both the editorial and Bittman's blog set the stage for letters to the editor about the unfortunate lobbying influence of the meat industry and its impact on the US public's health -- health being harmed by the consumption of what the industry likes to call "animal protein" and by the antibiotics that come with that protein.

Bittman notes that despite the reduction, "We still eat way more meat than is good for us or the environment, not to mention the animals." In our letters to the editor let's mention the animals.

The New York Times takes letters at
Always include your full name, address and telephone number when sending a letter to the editor.

I send thanks to David Bernazani and Tanya Kane Parry for making sure we saw the editorial and Bittman blog respectively.

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 only if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.)

Please go to to check out Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which in 2008 was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of The Year!"

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Date: Wed Jan 11 11:28:11 2012

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