Letter: Animals don't need drugs

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The Independent Online
ROUTINE FEEDING of antibiotics to farm animals is a major factor in bacteria becoming resistant to them. However, as you point out (Leading article, 22 August), modern farming cannot manage without the drugs. So we cannot ban antibiotics as prophylactics and growth promoters, without changing our treatment of farm animals more fundamentally.

If we are to end these food safety crises we have to stop treating animals like meat- and egg-producing machines. If disease spreads like wildfire due to cramped conditions, then we should give them more room, not feed them antibiotics. Similarly, if hens peck each other and pigs bite each others' tails due to their unnatural living conditions, then we should improve their conditions, not cut off their beaks and tails. We have to accept that intensive farming of animals has been an experiment that has failed. It is time to call a halt on grounds of both animal welfare and human health.

RICHARD MOUNTFORD

Tonbridge, Kent

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