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Factory Farms, Antibiotics and Anthrax:


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Title: Factory Farms, Antibiotics and Anthrax:

Factory Farms, Antibiotics and Anthrax
  • Putting Profits Before Public Health
  • Martin Donohoe, MD, FACP

  • Factory Farming
  • Agricultural Antibiotics
  • Cipro and Anthrax
  • Bayer
  • Conclusions

Factory Farming
  • Factory farms have replaced industrial factories
    as the 1 polluters of American waterways
  • Large CAFOs make up 5 of livestock operations
    but produce more than 50 of food animals
  • 1.4 billion tons animal waste generated/yr
  • 130 x human waste

Factory Farming
  • Cattle manure 1.2 billion tons
  • 16kg livestock feces and urine produced for every
    0.3kg steak
  • Pig manure 116 million tons
  • Chicken droppings 14 million tons

Factory Farm Waste
  • Overall number of hog farms down from 600,000 to
    157,000 over the last 15yrs, while of factory
    hog farms up 75
  • 1 hog farm in NC generates as much sewage annualy
    as all of Manhattan

Factory Farm Waste
  • Most untreated
  • Ferments in open pools
  • Seeps into local water supply, estuaries
  • Kills fish
  • Causes human infections - e.g., Pfisteria pescii,
    Chesapeake Bay

Factory Farm Waste
  • Creates unbearable stench
  • Foul odors and contaminated water caused by CAFOs
    reduce property values in surrounding communities
    an estimated 26 billion nationally
  • Widely disseminated by floods/hurricanes

Risks to Farm Workers
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections
  • Carriage of antibiotic-resistant organisms
  • Aerosolized pig brains associated with immune
    polyradiculoneuropathy (progressive inflammatory
    neuropathy) in pork processing plant workers
  • ?Other similar illnesses?

Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • Agriculture accounts for 70 of U.S. antibiotic
  • Use up 50 over the last 15 years
  • Almost 8 billion animals per year treated to
    promote growth
  • Larger animals, fewer infections in herd

Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • 84 of beef cattle, 83 of pigs, and 40-50 of
    poultry given non-therapeutic antibiotics
  • Arsenic used in chicken and pork feed (banned in
    Europe Poison-Free Poultry Act pending in U.S.

Consequences of Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • Campylobacter fluoroquinolone resistance
  • Infections/carriage by swine farmers associated
    with inflammatory neuropathies
  • VREF (due to avoparcin use in chickens)
  • Gentamycin- and Cipro-resistant E. coli in
  • 2009 Campylobacter found in 62, Salmonella in
    14, and both in 8 of store-bought chickens

Consequences of Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • MRSA in pork, chickens
  • 49 of pigs and 45 of pig farmers harbor MRSA
  • MRSA from animals throught to be responsible for
    more than 20 of human MRSA cases in the
  • H1N1 carriage rates very high in CAFO workers

Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens
  • CDC Antibiotic use in food animals is the
    dominant source of antibiotic resistance among
    food-borne pathogens.
  • CDC 76 million people suffer foodborne illnesses
    each year in the U.S.
  • 325,000 hospitalizations
  • 5,000 deaths
  • gt 152 billion/yr in medical costs, lost wages,
    and lost productivity

Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens
  • EU bans use of all antibiotic growth promoters
    effective 1/1/06
  • FDA bans off-label use of cephalosporins in food
    animals (2008)
  • Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment
    Act awaiting vote in Congress

Alternatives to Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • Decrease overcrowding
  • Better diet/sanitation/living conditions
  • Control heat stress
  • Vaccination
  • Increased use of bacterial cultures and specific
    antibiotic treatment in animals when indicated

Alternatives to Agricultural Antibiotic Use
  • ? water/grain needs
  • ? animal fecal waste
  • ? rendering/mad cow disease
  • ? rBGH (? ?IGF-1 in milk)
  • Health benefits
  • Meatpacking most dangerous job in US

Agricultural Antibiotics
  • Three years after a Danish ban on routing use of
    antibiotics in chicken farming, the prevalence of
    antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chickens dropped
    from 82 to 12

Agricultural Antibiotics
  • 2008 USDA allows E. coli-tainted meat to be sold
    as pre-cooked hamburger patties, taco meat, pizza
    toppings, etc.
  • Multiple other food recalls since

Agricultural Antibiotics
  • 2010 AMA, AAP, APHA, IDS all oppose
    non-therapeutic antibiotic use in livestock
  • 2010 FDA urges phasing out antibiotic use

  • Most common food-borne infection in US
  • 2.5 million case of diarrhea and 100 deaths per

Campylobacter Resistance to Fluoroquinolones
  • 13 in 1998, 18 in 1999, 20-80 currently
  • Fluoroquinolone use up dramatically
  • Continues to increase
  • FDA proposed ban on fluoroquinolone use in
  • Supported by APHA, PSR and others

  • Animal Use
  • Sarafloxacin (Saraflox) Abbott Labs
    voluntarily withdrawn from market
  • Enrofloxacin (Baytril) Bayer FDA withdraws
    approval (7/05), ban effective 9/05
  • Human Use
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) - Bayer

  • Cipro patent expired 2004
  • Doxycycline generic
  • Penicillin - generic
  • Huge potential profits
  • 300 million Americans, others
  • 20-25 increase in Cipro sales one month after
    2001 anthrax mailings, per the nations largest

  • Was best selling antibiotic in the world for
    almost a decade
  • Sales down since off patent, lower than
    levofloxacin and moxifloxacin
  • Gross sales (first quarter of 2008) 242 million

Bayer and Cipro
  • 1997 onward Bayer pays Barr Pharmaceuticals and
    two other competitors 200 million not to
    manufacture generic ciprofloxacin, despite a
    federal judges 1995 decision allowing it to do
  • Ultimately absolved of wrongdoing
    anticompetitive effects were within the
    exclusionary zone of the patent, and thus could
    not be redressed by federal antitrust law.

Cost of Cipro
  • Drugstore 4.50/pill
  • 2002 US government agreed to buy 100 million
    tablets for 0.95 per pill (twice what is paid
    under other government-sponsored public health
  • A full course of ciprofloxacin for postexposure
    prophylaxis (60 days) would then cost the
    government 204 per person treated, compared with
    12 per person treated with doxycycline

Cost of Cipro
  • US government has the authority, under existing
    law, to license generic production of
    ciprofloxacin by other companies for as little as
    0.20/pill in the event of a public health
  • It did not, but it cut a deal with Bayer to
    reduce the price of Cipro
  • Canada did override Bayers patent and ordered 1
    million tablets from a Canadian manufacturer

  • Weakening of case at WTO meetings that the
    massive suffering consequent to 25 million AIDS
    cases in Sub-Saharan Africa did not constitute
    enough of a public health emergency to permit
    those countries to obtain and produce cheaper
    generic versions of largely unavailable AIDS drugs

Other Consequences
  • Opens door to other situations involving parallel
    importing and compulsory licensing
  • Threatens pharmaceutical industrys massive
  • the most profitable industry in the US

Other Consequences
  • Weakens pharmaceutical industrys grip on
  • 110 million dollars spent on lobbying in the
    first half of 2010
  • 1,228 lobbyists (2.3 for every member of
  • Revolving door between legislators, lobbyists,
    executives and government officials

  • Based in Leverkusen, Germany
  • 107,000 employees worldwide (2008)
  • Revenue 31.16 billion (2009)
  • Pre-tax profits 6.47 billion (2009)
  • US largest market

  • Consists of Bayer HealthCare, Bayer
    MaterialScience, and Bayer CropScience
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Worlds leading pesticide manufacturer
  • One of worlds largest seed companies

  • Number one biotech company in Europe (after 2001
    purchase of Aventis CropScience)
  • Controls over half of genetically-modified crop
    varieties up for approval for commercial use
  • Risks of GMOs

History of Bayer
  • Trademarked heroin in 1898
  • Marketed as cough syrup for children without
    side effects, despite well-known dangers of
  • Patented acetylsalicylic acid as aspirin in 1899

History of Bayer
  • WW I invented modern chemical warfare developed
    School for Chemical Warfare
  • WW II part of IG Farben conglomerate, which
    exploited slave labor at Auschwitz, conducted
    unethical human subject experiments (including
    funding Mengele)
  • Manufactured and supplied Zyklon B (without usual
    odorant) to the SS for use in gas chambers

History of Bayer
  • 24 board members and executives indicted in
    Nuremberg Trials
  • 13 received prison sentences
  • Longest sentence to Fritz Meer
  • Convicted for plunder, slavery, and mass murder
  • Released from prison in 1952
  • Chairman of supervisory board of Bayer 1956-1964

History of Bayer
  • Early 1990s admitted knowingly selling
    HIV-tainted blood clotting products which
    infected up to 50 of hemophiliacs in some
    developed countries
  • US Class action suits settled for 100,000 per
  • European taxpayers left to foot most of bill

History of Bayer
  • 1995 onward - failed to follow promise to
    withdraw its most toxic pesticides from the
  • Failed to educate farmers in developing nations
    re pesticide health risks
  • 2 to 10 million poisonings / 200,000 deaths per
    year due to pesticides (WHO)

History of Bayer
  • 1998 pays Scottish adult volunteers 750 to
    swallow doses of the insecticide Guthion to
    prove products safety
  • Sued the FDA to lift moratorium on human-derived
  • 2000 cited by FDA and FTC for misleading claims
    regarding aspirin and heart attacks/strokes

History of Bayer
  • 2000 fined by OSHA for workplace safety
    violations related to MDA (carcinogen) exposures
  • 2000 fined by Commerce Dept. for violations of
    export laws

History of Bayer
  • 2001 FDA-reported violations in quality control
    contribute to worldwide clotting factor shortage
    for hemophiliacs
  • 2002 - Baycol (cholesterol lowering drug)
    withdrawn from market
  • Linked to 100 deaths and 1600 injuries
  • Accused by Germanys health minister of failing
    to inform government of lethal side effects for 2

History of Bayer
  • 2006 Bayer CropScience genetically-modified,
    herbicide-tolerant Liberty Link rice
    contaminates U.S. food supply
  • Bayer keeps contamination secret for 6 months,
    then US government takes another 18 days to
  • Places 1.5 billion industry at risk

History of Bayer
  • Liberty Link rice contamination
  • 9/06 33/162 EU samples tested positive for
    Liberty Link contamination
  • EU initially requires testing of all imported
    rice, then stops in response to US pressure
  • Japan ban imports of US rice
  • Over 1,200 lawsuits

History of Bayer
  • 2007 Member of rubber cartel fined 356 million
    by European Commission
  • 2007 Bayer suspends sales of Traysol (aprotinin)
    2 years after data show increased deaths in heart
    surgery patients (Bayer withheld data)
  • 2008 FDA warns Bayer re unapproved marketing
    claims for Bayer Womens Low Dose Aspirin plus
    Calcium and Bayer Heart Advantage

History of Bayer
  • 2008 Explosion at Bayer CropScience plant in
    Institute, WV, kills 2 workers
  • Above-ground storage tank that can hold up to
    40,000 lbs of methyl isocyanate) located 50-75 ft
    from blast area
  • Underground storage tank at plant site can store
    an additional 200,000 lbs

Comparison Bhopal
  • 50,000 to 90,000 pounds of methylisocyanate
    released in Union Carbide Bhopal, India explosion
  • 7000-10,000 dead within 3 days, 15,000-20,000
    more over next 10 years tens of thousands
  • Persistent water and soil contamination

History of Bayer
  • 2009 4 million settlement reached re 2006
    release of chemical odorant propyl mercaptan and
    organophosphate pesticide Mocap from Bayer
    Cropscience plant in Alabama in 2006, which
    caused 2 deaths
  • 2009 Sued by CSPI for false claims about
    selenium in its One A Day Mens Health Formula
    multivitamin reducing prostate cancer risk

History of Bayer
  • 2009 Bayer ordered by FDA and a number of states
    attorneys general to run a 20 million corrective
    advertising campaign about its birth control pill
  • 2009 Oregon taxpayers on hook for ¾ of cleanup
    costs for one of Oregons most contaminated dump
    sites (pesticides)

History of Bayer
  • 2010 FSA orders Bayer to stop misleading
    advertising re its IUD Mirena
  • 2010 Cited by Political Economy Research
    Institute as 1 toxic air polluter in the U.S.
  • 2010 Loses cases to Dow AgroSciences LLC and
    Monsanto over patent infringement cases involving
    genetically-modified crops

History of Bayer
  • 2010 Fire at BayerCropScience Plant in india
    caused by leaking ethoprophos (toxic pesticide
    ingredient) kills one worker
  • Late 1990s - 2010s Bayer pesticides
    spirotetramat, imidacloprid, and clothianidin
    implicated in (honeybee) colony collapse

Bayers Corporate Agenda
  • Bluewash signatory to UNs Global Compact
  • Greenwash crop protection (pesticides)
  • Promotion of anti-environmental health agenda
    Wise Use, Responsible Care movements

Bayers Corporate Agenda
  • Corporate Front Groups Global Crop Protection
  • Harrassment / SLAPP suits against watchdog groups
  • e.g., Coalition Against Bayer Dangers

Bayers Corporate Agenda
  • Lobbying / Campaign donations / Influence
  • Member of numerous lobbying groups attacking
    trade barriers (i.e., environmental health and
    safety laws)
  • Spent 8,498,512 for lobbying in 2009
  • Gave 319,482,000 to federal candidates in the
    2008 election through its PAC, 42 to Democrats,
    58 to Republicans

  • Fortune Magazine (2001) one of the most admired
    companies in the United States
  • Multinational Monitor (2001, 2003) one of the 10
    worst corporations of the year

  • Triumph of corporate profits and
    influence-peddling over urgent public health
  • Stronger regulation needed over
  • Agricultural antibiotic use
  • Drug pricing
  • Stiffer penalties for corporate malfeasance
    necessary (fines and jail time)
  • Important role of medical/public health
    organizations and the media

  • Donohoe MT. Factory farms, antibiotics, and
    anthrax. Z Magazine 2003 (Jan)28-30. Available
    at http//zmagsite.zmag.org/Jan2003/donohoe0103.sh

Contact Information
  • Public Health and Social Justice Website
  • http//www.publichealthandsocialjustice.org
  • http//www.phsj.org
  • martindonohoe_at_phsj.org
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