Farmed Fish

Pandemics Ahead: Number 21 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages ISBN: 0692641157)

Industrial fish-farms are booming. In 2012, the production of farmed fish surpassed that of cows. The world produced 63 million tons of cow carcass and 66 million tons of farmed fish. And, consumption of farmed fish may soon pass consumption of wild-caught fish. (977)

About 600 aquatic species are raised in captivity in 190 countries, including hatcheries that produce fish for stocking to the wild, particularly in inland waters. While aquaculture currently accounts for a smaller part of the livestock industry than land animals, it is the fastest growing sector.

From 32.4 million tonnes (71.4 billion pounds) in 2000, global production of farmed fish soared to 59.9 million tonnes (132 billion pounds) in 2010, which was up 7.5% from 2009 already. Like concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs), farmed fish are crammed together in cages, often swimming around in their own wastes.

Eighty-six percent of US seafood is imported, and about half of those imports are raised on factory farms, called aquaculture. Asia is the number one producer of these aquaculture products, dominating 89% of the industry.(978) 

Fragile ecosystems like mangroves are being replaced by fish farms, which are projected to provide most of the fish consumed within 20 years. Farming can occur in coastal areas, such as with oyster farms, and inland, in lakes, ponds, tanks and other enclosures. Similar to livestock's impact on forests, large-scale fish farming is leading to the pollution and destruction of wetlands, estuaries and mangroves, and displacement and impoverishment of hundreds local communities across the world.

Many of the top animal genetics firms have begun research and development in aquaculture. They work with only a handful of species, primarily Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, tropical shrimp and tilapia. Many popular seafood species, like salmon, are carnivorous. So, when they are farmed, they eat up to five pounds of small fish to produce just one pound of flesh - a net loss of protein. 

Incredibly, many aquaculture companies in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and other Asian countries feed fish with untreated feces from pigs, chickens, geese and other animals as the primary nutrition. The manure contaminates the ponds with microbes like salmonella and makes fish further susceptible to diseases.(979)

Consequently, farmed fish are given immense quantities of antibiotics to avoid disease, many of which are banned for use in the US. To boot, baby fish are fed testosterone and other growth hormones. Aquaculture may cause harm to the environment directly through (i) the release of organic effluents, and (ii) disease treatment chemicals. They may cause harm indirectly through (iii) their dependence on industrial fisheries to supply feed of smaller fish, and (iv) by acting as a source of diseases or genetic contamination for 'wild' species.

Farmed fish have been shown to have high levels of bacteria, PCBs and insecticides. Around 25% of the food-borne illness outbreaks caused by imported food from 2005 to 2010 in the US involved seafood, more than any other food commodity.(980) Health researchers estimate that the inflammatory potential of consuming tilapia is far greater than that of cow or pig carcass.(981) Farmed salmon may have at least 10 times the sum of cancer-causing pollutants compared to the 'wild' variety, and dioxin levels are 11 times higher. On top of this, farm-bred fish have lower levels of healthy nutrients.(982) Shrimp is the dirtiest of all seafood.

Farmed fish are fed fish-meal, which means that fish low on the food chain are caught, worsening the marine outcome of bycatch. The impact on the menhaden, a type of small fish caught to be fed to farmed fish, is devastating, as this critical little fish is facing severe threats.(983)

Across Latin America and Asia, pollution from aquaculture is leading to dead lakes and extinct species. On top of that, aquaculture production is vulnerable to adverse impacts of disease and environmental conditions, and massive die-offs are a common occurrence in the industry. Disease outbreaks in recent years have affected farmed Atlantic salmon in Chile, oysters in Europe, and marine shrimp farmed in several countries in Asia, South America and Africa. These incidents have resulted in partial or sometimes total loss of production.

In 2010, aquaculture in China suffered production losses of 1.7 million tonnes (3.7 billion pounds) caused by natural disasters, diseases and pollution. Disease outbreaks virtually wiped out marine shrimp farming production in Mozambique in 2011.(984) In 2014 alone, there was (i) a massive die-off of fish in 44 fish farms due to Vibrio bacteria along the coast of Singapore; (ii) over 365,000 salmon were killed due to an outbreak of infectious salmon anaemia virus in Norway, and (iii) Furunculosis bacteria led to the cull of 90,000 trout in New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, (iii) around 52,000 young trout died in a hatchery; and (iv) about 280,000 salmon were killed by a 'rare algae bloom' in Vancouver, Canada.(985)

In 2016, the alarms went off again in the salmon industry in Chile, one of the largest producers of this fish in the world. A massive algae bloom killed 23 million salmon, a loss of up to 20% of the country's annual production, or around 100,000 tonnes, valued at $800 million.(986) Earlier in Chile, an outbreak of ISA, a fin-fish disease caused by a virus, cost the fish farm industry $2 billion in damages in 2007.

Chile's loss is equal to the value of Canada's entire farmed salmon industry, valued at $813 million in 2013. The problem has been made worse by nitrate-rich runoff from livestock from nearby land around the salmon farms, which are typically offshore or in estuaries.

Moreover, farmed fish are becoming inundated with human pollution. For example, young salmon in the north Pacific tested positive for more than 80 different drugs, including cocaine, antidepressants such as Cipro, Paxil, Valium and Zoloft, and dozens of other medications like Flonase, Aleve, Tylenol, Tagamet, OxyContin, and Darvon.(987)

Young salmon were likewise contaminated with nicotine, caffeine, fungicides, antiseptics, anticoagulants, and chemicals from personal care products. The tissues of migratory chinook salmon and local staghorn sculpin also contained these compounds – even in the fish found in estuaries far from sewage treatment plants where the water was previously considered "pristine."

Chapter 26: MISSING FISH, pages 252-3.     Previous  |  Home  Next

For more information, see

eco denialist


in four hours

94-year old attenborough

gained one million followers

the british broadcaster's documentary

a life on our planet

calls for immediate action

to stop the next extinction

caused by the human asteroid

the documentarian is called 'radical'

david's popularity is 'a good sign' 

that humanity is changing

but is david's call radical enough

are his solutions way too little

and his analysis far too tepid

in his latest media blitz

the wildlife advocate argues

biodiversity loss 

is dangerous to humans 

by increasing epidemics

threatening food security

climate change and more

david lists the key causes

of the extinction crisis

the trade in 'wildlife'

overfishing oceans

over-consumption in developed world

pollution in the global south

destroying natural habitats

and climate change

but these causes are not radical

all are already known

so too the solutions offered 

like less consumption

with responsible carnism

used as an add-on at the end

far from an eco revolution 

this is business-as-usual

and eco denialism

david offers no critique

of carnism




right after his call 

for responsible carnism

the natural historian 

carts out one 'expert' 

who explicitly states

"that's not to say

that none of us

should ever eat meat

or we should cut

all dairy out from our diets"

thus dominion is left intact

and the human asteroid 

is cleared for landing

david's lack of awareness

is not surprising

in an interview he states

"I eat fish, and chicken, 

and my conscience does trouble me.

I'm affluent enough to afford free-range, 

but it's a middle-class hypocrisy"

alas, poor david

after all this time

spent in the company of animals

he still uses a knife

while preaching to others

blissfully ignoring

his denialism is the asteroid

no masks allowed

masses of pink people

immersed in outrage

assembled during a pandemic

with 200,000 deaths

for an election rally

with more dog whistling

relishing each hateful code 

from don the average con

leader of the aryan 'race'

willing to do whatever it takes

to end their replacement

at the hands of dark inferiors

energized by lots of 'good' genes

red blotches on angry faces

shouting "fill that seat"

obese arms with gucci watches

waving in economic angst

"all lives matter"

"open schools and businesses"

a sea of red hats

newly invigorated

by the sudden death 

of an 87-year old woman

to curb 'white' genocide

once and for all

by limiting abortion

gringos gathered to pray

on an airport runway 

for a new supreme judge

committed to racist pride

increasing pink babies

ensuring a biased future for all

decades of sexism

eons of racism

lifetimes of color privilege 

for the masters of disasters

in the land of xenophobia

Waste and ByCatch

Pandemics Ahead: Number 20 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

The future of marine life face threats from multiple fronts, including (i) overfishing, (ii) unsustainable seafood farming practices, (iii) ocean pollution, and (iv) acidification. In addition, due to seafood's short shelf life, there is a huge magnitude of waste in the fishing industry. Waste of seafood needs to be monitored and incorporated into the livestock supply chain.

The US edible seafood supply is around 4.7 billion pounds (2.1b kg) per year, which consists of domestic and imported products minus any exported products. Appallingly, from 2009 to 2013, nearly half of the sea creatures was lost and wasted as 40 to 47 percent went uneaten, around 2.3 billion pounds (1b kg).(972)

The greatest portions of waste occurred at the levels of consumers with 51 to 63 percent of loss attributed to consumption, a staggering 1.3 billion pounds (590m kg).

Bycatch discarded by commercial fishers accounted for 16 to 32 percent, or 573 million pounds (260m kg), and lost in distribution and retail operations was 13 to 16 percent, or 330 million pounds (150m kg).

Among all the fishing methods, bottom trawling, a fishing method that drags a large net across the sea floor, is the most destructive to oceans. Bottom trawls are utilized for catching desirable fish that live on the seafloor that is used for food, such as shrimp, cod, sole and flounder. However, the weight and width of a bottom trawl can destroy large areas of seafloor habitats that give marine species food and shelter. Bottom trawlers have affected 20 million square miles (52m sq km) of ocean, turning parts of the continental shelf to rubble. Such habitat destruction can leave marine ecosystems permanently damaged.(973)

In the US, bottom trawling occurs on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, capturing in excess of 800 million pounds (362m kg) of marine life in 2007. Bottom trawls are commonly used by many fishing nations and on the high seas as well. Undesirable marine creatures are usually discarded by commercial fisheries.

This collateral damage, called bycatch, can equal up to 90 percent of a trawl’s total catch.

In 1994, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimated that between 17 and 39 million tons (average 27 million) of fish are discarded each year in commercial fisheries. Fisheries in the Northeast Pacific alone produced a bycatch exceeding one billion individuals annually.(974)

Discard problems in the Northwest Atlantic were classified into four groups: (i) marketable species too small or otherwise prohibited from landings, (ii) species for which no current market exists, but are caught along with commercial or recreational species, (iii) species-specific fleet sectors discarding another fisheries target species, and (iv) non-fishery bycatch species, such as marine mammals, turtles, and birds.

For every one pound of fish caught for food, an average of 5 pounds (2.2 kg) of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as bycatch. For every pound of shrimp, 26 pounds (12 kg) of other sea creatures are killed and tossed back into the sea. As many as 40 percent (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year are discarded. In a multitude of fisheries, the percentage of bycatch far outweighs the volume of target catch.

Case in point, for every shrimp caught by nets dragged behind boats (or trawls) in the Gulf of Mexico, over four times its weight is made up of bycatch. Each year, 20 percent of the total US catch is thrown away, and as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed by fishing vessels.(975)

In addition to by-catch, tons of derelict fishing gear or “ghost nets” are silently killing dolphins, seals, and sharks and other ocean animals that become entangled in them. When nets get snag on the seafloor, crews leave them behind, but those nets keep on fishing and killing, perpetually. Just as ocean currents are pushing plastics to convergence zones, also called gyres, abandoned nets often end up funneled into the same spots.

Ghost nets trap countless numbers of marine animals for years, decades, and perhaps even centuries. In the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary over 85,000 abandoned lobster and crab traps are ghost fishing, while in the Chesapeake Bay, more than 913,000 crabs are caught by derelict traps each year.(976)

The state of the world's marine fisheries is worsening as evidenced by (i) the declining global marine catch, (ii) the larger percentage of over-exploited fish stocks, and (iii) the lower proportion of non-fully exploited species. Switching to less destructive fishing methods represents a partial solution at best, while adopting a plant-based diet is a far better intervention in the marine crisis.

Chapter 26: MISSING FISH, page 251.    Previous  |  Home  |  Next

For more information, see

Commercial Fishing

Pandemics Ahead: Number 19 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

Overfishing's Carbon Footprint

Despite wide-ranging environmental impacts, fish is a relatively small source of protein. Fish accounts for 16.6% of the world population’s intake of animal protein, and 6.5% of all protein consumed.(959) The 2010 US Dietary Guidelines recommended augmenting seafood intake to 8 ounces (0.2 kg) per person, per week, and consuming a variety of seafood in place of some red meat and chicken. 

Achieving these dietary levels would require doubling the US seafood supply with serious consequences. Global fisheries add $270 billion a year to global GDP, but overfishing, the taking of fish beyond sustainable levels, is reducing fish stocks and employment in many of the world's regions.

While fish catches worldwide are expanding, fish stocks are rapidly being depleted by over-fishing. The loss of ocean biodiversity is accelerating, and 30 percent of the seafood species humans consume have already crashed. In fact, “sustainable” seafood may disappear by 2050.(960)

The greatest enlargement in seafood consumption has occurred in Oceania and Asia, especially China, with hikes from 11 g (0.4 oz) per capita per day in 1963, to 69 g (2.4 oz) per capita per day in 2003. Compared with industrial countries, developing countries have seen larger gains in freshwater fish consumption, with China having a 10-fold upsurge from 1963 to 2003. Globally, the main fishes consumed are white fish, oily fish and seafood invertebrates.(961)

Close to 90% of the world’s fishery catches come from depleted oceans and seas, as opposed to inland waters. On top of that, there are serious human rights concerns over enslaved and bonded labor on fishing vessels, diving operations and processing on land.

In 55 years, humans have eliminated 90% of the ocean's top predators, including sharks, tuna, swordfish, marlin, and mackerel. Now, a small number of species support the majority of the world’s fisheries. Some of the popular species are herring, cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, mullet, squid, shrimp, salmon, crab, lobster, oyster and scallops.

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) fisheries data suggests that global marine catches increased to 86 million tonnes in 1996, then slightly declined. Even so, catch trajectories differ considerably from the national data submitted to the FAO. The exact amount is uncertain since the number of fish caught globally is underreported by about 30 percent.(962)

Health-wise, fish are viewed as a lean source of protein, as well as the omega-3 fatty acids that help the heart. All the same, fish contains mercury, a poison that accumulates up the food chain and can damage the brain and nervous system. And they can contain algae, plastics and other toxins that bio-accumulates up the food chain as well.

Despite mercury and other hazards, humans have depleted the oceans for marine protein. The world had 4.36 million fishing vessels in 2010, and almost all have engines or motors that operate on fossil fuels. Fishing activity is characterized by considerable fuel consumption and release of biocides from anti-fouling paint on the boats.

The depletion of fish stocks widens the distance that is necessary to travel in order to catch certain species of fish. In 2000, 80 million tons of fish required the burning of 13 billion gallons (50b l) of fuel, and released of 134 million tons of CO2. Thus, global fisheries used up to 12.5 times the mass of fuel energy that they provided as edible-protein energy.(963)

And while the 'global warming potential' (GWP) and acidification potential of 1 kg wild cod fish is lower compared to 1 kg chicken, the dry matter content is not equal. For example, the GWP of 1 kg fresh shrimp is similar to that of 1 kg fresh chicken, but three times higher for 1 kg peeled and frozen shrimps.(964)

For every ton of fish harvested, there are substantial amounts of GHGs generated and it varies depending on the location. For instance, for (a) Norwegian fish, it is 1,750 kg (3,858 lb) of CO2 equivalents; (b) for Chilean salmon it is 2,250 kg (4,960 lb); (c) for Canadian fish it is 2,500 kg (5,511 lb); and (d) for Scottish farmed stock it is 3,300 kg (7,275 lb).

There are 3 kg (6.6 lb) CO2 costs associated with each kg (2.2 lb) of frozen salmon brought to North America from Chile, and 5.5 times that GHG cost for fresh Chilean salmon flown into the Northern Hemisphere. In comparison, growing, marketing, peeling and boiling a kg of potatoes takes 280 grams (0.6 lbs) of CO2.(965)

Over 75 percent of major fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited, or depleted, and upwards of 90% of large predatory fishes are gone. Of the 600 marine fish stocks monitored by FAO, 3 percent are underexploited, 20 percent are moderately exploited, 52 percent are fully exploited, 17 percent are over-exploited, 7 percent are depleted, and 1 percent are recovering from depletion.(966) Overfishing has disrupted the organic process of multiple oceanic ecosystems.(967)

For almost five decades, 1961 to 2009, the world's fish catch grew dramatically, with an average growth rate of 3.2 percent per year in the period, outpacing the expansion in the world’s population of 1.7 percent per year. The world per capita seafood fish consumption soared from an average of 9.9 kg (21.8 lb) in the 1960s up to 18.6 kg (41 lb) in 2010.

The peak rate of caught fish was 1988 at 130 million tonnes. Since 1989, the world capture of marine fish has declined by 500,000 tonnes per year despite mounting fishing effort. Each year, usually 90 million tonnes (200 billion pounds) of fish is pulled from the oceans, but in the last seven years (2004 to 2010), landings of all marine species have declined, except anchovy, by around 73.3 million tonnes (161b lbs).

Since 2007, both the Mediterranean–Black Sea and the Southwest Atlantic have seen declining catches, with a plunge of 15 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Over 25 percent of US fish stocks are over-fished, which has led to the collapse of numerous fisheries and fishing communities.

There have been sharp declines in the populations of tuna, cod, and marlins. During the 1960s and ’70s, shelf fisheries in the Atlantic started to collapse due to overfishing. Operations moved to the deep sea, and in turn, deepwater fishing has seriously affected the populations of deep-sea fish, such as the roundnose grenadier, onion-eye grenadier, spiny eel, spinytail skate, and blue hake. The populations of these deep-sea fishes have plummeted by over 87 percent in 17 years. It is expected that these fishes will be driven to the point of extinction, to the detriment of the ecosystems in which they live.(968)

“Suction harvesting” swallows up huge quantities of krill that are processed, frozen, and stored on specially outfitted ships. The krill are used as feed for fish-farms (aquaculture) or transformed into omega-3 oil and other health supplements. The upshot is that seals, whales, and penguins are losing one of their primary sources of food.(969)

Chapter 26: MISSING FISH, pages 248-9     Previous  |  Home  |  Next

For more information, see

nature on the edge

unsustainable human activity 

is pushing the planet’s 

natural systems 

that support life on Earth 

to the edge

in 2020 the international community 

did not fully achieve 

any of the 20 Aichi 

biodiversity targets 

agreed in Japan in 2010 

to slow the loss of the natural world

along with missed targets

$500bn (£388bn) in government subsidies 

is still being invested 

in environmentally damaging 

agriculture, fossil fuels and fishing 

the UN's global biodiversity outlook 5

reported that more than 

60% of the world’s coral reefs 

are under threat

because of overfishing 

and destructive practices

the living planet index (LPI) 

tracks almost 21,000 populations 

of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles 

and amphibians around the world

the 2020 LPI show

an average 68% fall 

in almost 21,000 wildlife populations 

between 1970 and 2016

a two-thirds decline 

in less than half a century 

due in large part 

to the very same 

environmental destruction 

which is contributing 

to the emergence 

of zoonotic diseases 

such as COVID-19

1 in 5 plants are threatened with extinction

the current rate of plant extinction 

is twice that of mammals

birds and amphibians combined

since 1970 the average decline 

in freshwater population size 

is 84% 

the starkest population decline 

in any biome

equivalent to 4% per year


why are we losing nature?

we are the cause




changing land use 

for food production 

is the biggest driver 

of nature loss

about 50% of the world’s 

habitable land area 

is already used for agriculture 

for livestock such as cattle and pigs 

and for crops that feed 

both people and livestock

if we continue to destroy the natural world

we will see more outbreaks like COVID-19 

and the next pandemic 

could be even more deadly and costly

business-as-usual will result

in even more steep population declines

we need nature

nature is a solution

nature can help 

to address climate change 


or to reduce vulnerability 

to the negative impacts 

of climate change

Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is published by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Living Planet Index (LPI) is provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) - Living Planet Report 2020

Antibiotics and Superbugs

Pandemics Ahead: Number 17 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

For centuries, infections caused by bacteria were a major source of disease and death from illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. The discovery of antibiotics has proven critical in greatly reducing infectious diseases, and protecting public health relies heavily on the use of antibiotics.

Livestock are usually given the same antibiotics as humans. Many of the same antibiotics used to promote growth in nonhuman animals, six of the 17 classes of antibiotics, are used to treat diseases in human animals.(606) According to WHO, much larger volumes of antibiotics are being fed to healthy farm animals than to sick human beings.

The widening use of antibiotics in animal production has gone hand-in-hand with the development of industrial-style livestock operations. Thousands of animals are crammed into the unhygienic, crowded quarters of a typical factory farm operation. To avoid disease, antibiotics are constantly dispensed through the animals' feed. On top of this, due to varied climate effects, veterinary medicine use will go up as disease burdens spread.(607)

The sale of antibiotics to treat ill people remained fairly steady from 2001 to 2011, at around 8 million pounds (3.6m kg) per year globally. In the same period, the sale of antibiotics for cattle and chicken production soared 50 percent, from 20 million pounds (9m kg), to 30 million pounds (13.6m kg) per year.(608)

And, according to the FDA, US sales of medically indispensable antibiotics approved for use in livestock surged another 23 percent between 2009 and 2014. In 2014 alone, domestic sales and distribution of these critical drugs climbed by three percent.(609) In addition, globally, the use of antibiotics in agriculture is set to increase by two thirds by 2030, from 63,200 to 105,600 tons.(610)

In 2006, the EU prohibited the use of antibiotics to promote animal growth. Even so, this did not result in a meaningful curtailing of their use on factory farms. With resistant bacteria and food-borne illnesses on the rise, the CDC has agreed to limit the use of antibiotics to promote the growth of livestock animals when those drugs are used to treat people. But the US government has thus far failed to reduce the threat to human health caused by ineffective antibiotics.(611)

In 2013, the FDA finally recommended for drug makers and agricultural companies to restrict the application of antibiotics in livestock production “to those uses that are considered necessary for assuring animal health.” The health agency is trying to phase out antibiotic use as a growth enhancer in livestock, to keep them out of the human food supply.

However, the federal government suggested that antibiotics could still be used to treat illnesses in animals raised for meat, but they should otherwise be pared back by December 2016. All the same, the FDA's guidelines are voluntary, and may not limit the overuse and the demise of antibiotics in the future.(612) Case in point, antibiotic use escalated in 2014, even after the guidelines were issued. 

In other parts of the world, the use of these valuable drugs is subject to hardly any regulations or restrictions whatsoever. In China, in excess of 100,000 tonnes (220 million lb) of antibiotics are fed to livestock every year, largely without being monitored.

Fifty million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the US every year. Over 40 percent is given to animals, and 80 percent of what is given to animals is used to promote their growth, as probiotics, not for illness.(613) Animal-based agribusiness utilized 13,000 tonnes (28.6 million lb) of antibiotics in 2009, and accounts for nearly 80 percent of all the antibiotics used in the country.

A major concern is that repeated exposure to the drugs enables resistant strains of bacteria to evolve. Some bacteria are naturally resistant, so they survive treatment and multiply. When antibiotics are given again, the resistant bacteria survive, and as their proportion of the bacterial population accrues over time, the drugs become less effective.

The bigger volume of antibiotics in use, the greater likelihood bacteria will become insusceptible to them. These resistant bacteria can enter the human body when people eat food animals. This puts humans in danger as bacterial strains develop stronger resistances. The annual cost of treating antibiotic-resistant infections in the US alone is upwards of $30 billion and mounting.(614)

Drug-resistant infections currently kill about 50,000 people each year in the US and Europe, and that number could reach as high as 10 million deaths by 2050, according to research by the UK government.(615) Every time an antibiotic is administered, there is a chance that some bacteria will develop resistance to it.

'Superbugs' are pathogens such as Escherichia coli, salmonella or campylobacteria that can infect humans as well. They are resistant to several different antibiotics and are therefore particularly difficult to treat. Testing in 2011 discerned the antibiotic-resistant Enterococcus faecalis was present in supermarkets on samples of all forms of livestock: on 81 percent of turkey, 69 percent of pig, 55 percent of cow, and 29 percent of chicken flesh samples.(616)

In October 2000, the FDA discovered that two antibiotics were no longer effective in treating diseases in factory-farmed chickens. One antibiotic was swiftly pulled from the market, but the other, Baytril, was not. Bayer, the company which produced it, contested the claim and as a result, Baytril remained in use until July 2005.(617)

Resistance in food-borne zoonotic bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter are clearly linked to antibiotic use in food animals, and foodborne diseases caused by such resistant bacteria are well documented in people.(618) Drug-resistant infections, some fatal, have been mounting in people in the US, and antibiotic-resistant genes in bacteria infecting humans were identical to some of the same bacteria infecting animals.(619)

Developing brand-new antibiotics is expensive, and new drugs may only prove effective for a short term. Put simply, pharmaceutical companies have decided antibiotics are less worthwhile investments than drugs for chronic illnesses. One ramification of this is that strains of drug-resistant tuberculosis and gonorrhea are on the rise worldwide.

In the US, antibiotic resistance bacteria caused in excess of two million illnesses in 2013, and an estimated 23,000 deaths, adding up to over $20 million in healthcare costs. Drug resistance in campylobacter bacteria, the most common known cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the US, spiraled from zero in 1991 to 14 percent in 1998.(620)

According to the CDC, in over one-third of the salmonella-poisoning cases in 1997, the bacteria were resistant to five antibiotics used to treat the disease. As confirmation, the agency linked an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella in humans to cow carcass that had been fed sub-therapeutic doses of chlortetracycline for growth promotion.(621)

Staph bacteria, which cause skin, blood, heart valve, and bone infections that can lead to septic shock and death, are becoming progressively resistant to the chief antibiotic that has been used to treat staph infections, methicillin. From 1975 to 1991, the incidence of methicillin-resistant staph bacteria in US hospitals surged upwards from 2.4 percent to 29 percent. Staph infections are becoming progressively resistant to the last line of defense, vancomycin.(622) This critical intersection of food animals and human disease is a serious cause for concern in the present and future.

Chapter 16: MEAT IS OPPRESSION, pg 160-61  Previous  |  Home  Next

For more information, see

social realist

the long-standing tension 

between integration 

and separation

is part of many social movements

and marginalized discourses

from radical feminists

to critical 'race' theorists

brave activists have faced reality

to counter endless positivism

with a dark social realism 

based on crystal-clear recognition 

of the solidity of the status quo

and lack of structural change

social realist 

imagining a future 

in which sexism and racism 

casteism and colonialism

patriarchy and eurocentric supremacy

not only continues

but strives and intensifies

for female and racialized activists

indigenous and dalit reformers

marginalized change-makers everywhere

the choice is clear

integration has mostly been in vain

therefore aspects of separation 

have to become part of change

from de-centering and de-coupling

to reservations and quotas

affirmative action and reparations 

until social bias is over

climate fires 911

2020 fires are having a banner year

dozens of major fires are burning

as of september 11, across the west

one hundred large fires have burned 

over 4.5 million acres in 12 states

more than one million acres in oregon

as 500,000 people evacuated

smoke from west coast wildfires 

were pulled into a cyclone 1,000 miles offshore

2020 is california's largest wildfire season

with five of the twenty largest wildfires in state history

on august 19, there were 367 known fires

many sparked by intense thunderstorms on august 16–17 

caused by moisture from tropical storm fausto

as of september 11, a total of 7,718 fires 

have burned 3,354,234 acres

more than 3% of the state's 100 million acres of land

destroyed 6,391 buildings

caused over 24 deaths and 37 seriously injured

the august complex has surpassed 

the mendocino complex of 2018

to become california's largest recorded wildfire

followed by number three, SCU lighting complex

four, LNU lighting complex

nine, north complex 

and 16, the creek fire

standing on the ashes of the state

as the ground bakes in record heat

blasted by diablo and santa ana winds 

gov newsom said climate change

and drought are to blame

yet, so far this year, the gov has granted 

1,800+ oil and gas permits

and in the midst of a historic drought

precious groundwater is used for fracking

streams are diverted for livestock

the west coast is ground zero

climate change plus business-as-usual

is leading to recording breaking disasters

denial, de-growth and destruction

are the new normal

this year's climate fires 

is a 911 wake-up call

are you going to answer

are you willing to stop ecocide 

Mercury Poisoning

Pandemics Ahead: Number 17 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

These have been a tripling of the surface water mercury content in the oceans, compared to pre-industrial conditions, and a 150 percent increase in the magnitude of mercury in the underlying thermocline water layer.(1046) Doses of mercury associated with typical rates of fish consumption may pose measurable endangerment to human health, and there is no safe threshold for this dangerous chemical.

Several experiments have documented mercury hazards from eating fish in the US (1047) and South Korea.(1048) Risks were identified with consumption of 120g of dried shark for methylmercury in Oman as well.(1049) In environments without oxygen, mercury combines with carbon to become methylmercury, a highly toxic compound. Bottom-dwelling fish consume methylmercury particles on the ocean floor and are then eaten by larger fish. Large fish such as sharks, swordfish and king mackerel contain the largest amounts of methylmercury because they are higher up in the food chain.

Since 2002, seafood consumption in the US has grown substantially, which means that US fish consumers have higher concentrations of mercury in their bodies. Tuna - canned light, canned albacore and fresh/frozen varieties - accounts for 37.4 percent of the total mercury inputs for US consumers. And alarmingly, between 1998 and 2008, mercury levels in yellowfin tuna have increased nearly four percent annually. This trend will continue and possibly accelerate, with dire implications for human health and a range of ocean species.(1050)

Mercury is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Among other hazards, it can result in children born with brain damage. Tuna and sea bass are loaded with mercury, while shark and swordfish are worse. Exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. High levels in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.

A study by Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that Mercury levels in women who frequently eat fish are 11 times higher than in women who rarely eat seafood. Findings show that almost 30 percent of the women had more mercury in their bodies than the level the US Environmental Protection Agency considers safe, 1 ppm (part per million).(1051) The limit of 1 ppm was calculated in 2000, but EWG has advocated for a stricter mercury limit of 0.58 ppm based on updated research from 2007. Almost 60 percent of women had more mercury in their system than this stricter limit. 

During pregnancy, the dietary goal for omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA) is 650 mg, of which 300 is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And, although some women eat more than twice as much fish as the average American, almost 60 percent of them still do not get the amount of omega-3s recommended during pregnancy from seafood in their diets.

Fish do not synthesize DHA or EPA, rather, these are derived from the plankton and microalgae they eat. So supplements made from algae-based DHA could be used to obtain omega-3s, instead of fish. Also, nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flax-seed and canola oil contain omega-3s, although the body has to convert these plant sources from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to DHA.(1052) 

Chapter 28: HUMAN DISEASES, pg 268-9    Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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Air Pollution

Pandemics Ahead: Number 16 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

Animal-based agriculture can cause serious air quality problems that result from dust, smog, chemicals, and odors. People who live near or work on factory farms, breathe in numerous gases formed as manure decomposes. The stench of ammonia and other noxious fumes can be unbearable, but worse still, the gases contain many harmful chemicals.

The level of antibiotics 20 yards (18 m) away from a giant cattle feed-lot, is similar to an enclosed, industrial pig operation. Wind dispersed particulate matter from outdoor feed-lots carry prodigious amounts of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance genes, and bacteria, far downwind. Some of the transported bacteria can cause human infections.(1058) 

Working environments within many concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and stables remains largely uncontrolled. Endotoxin-contaminated organic dust present significant respiratory hazards for workers. Reaction to endotoxins can lead to anaphylactic shock and death. Exposure control to endotoxins, and prevention strategies for livestock workers are urgently required.(1059)

In addition to endotoxin hazard for workers, the dust generated by animal activity and farming practices contribute to air quality problems far removed from factory farms. These widely dispersed air pollutants can cause respiratory illness, lung inflammation, and enhanced weakness to respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Massive discharges of reactive organics and ammonia from CAFOs play a role in the formation of ozone (smog) and particulates in the air, as well.

Large hog farms emit hydrogen sulfide, a gas that most often causes flu-like symptoms in humans. At high concentrations, hydrogen sulfide can lead to brain damage, but this gas is dangerous even at low levels. Its effects, which are irreversible, range from mild, a sore throat, to severe with seizures, comas, and even death. In 1998, the National Institute of Health reported that 19 people died from hydrogen sulfide emissions from manure pits. 

Other common health effects associated with chemicals emanating from factory farms are headaches, shortness of breath, wheezing, excessive coughing, and diarrhea.

Chapter 28: HUMAN DISEASES, page 270.   Previous  |  Home  Next

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Milk Allergy & Meat Allergy

Pandemics Ahead: Number 15 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters.

Excerpt from Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming by Moses Seenarine, (2016). Xpyr Press, 348 pages. ISBN: 0692641157.

Milk Allergy

Allergy to cow’s milk is the most common food allergy in infants and young children. Symptoms of a milk allergy reaction can range from mild, such as hives, to severe, such as anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Around 2.5 percent of children younger than three years of age are allergic to milk. Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life.

The allergy is most likely to persist in children who have high levels of cow’s milk antibodies in their blood. With a milk allergy, the immune system thinks dairy is a foreign invader and attacks it by releasing chemicals called histamines. During anaphylaxis, allergic symptoms can affect several areas of the body and may threaten breathing and blood circulation. Other animal-based foods that can cause severe allergic reactions are fish and shellfish.

Meat Allergy

Alpha-gal allergy or meat allergy is a reaction to this molecule found in almost all mammals. The body becomes overloaded with antibodies on contact with the carbohydrate. Bites from the lone star tick or the chigger can transfer this carbohydrate to victims, which causes a delayed allergic response that is triggered by the consumption of mammalian flesh.(1053)

The allergy most often occurs in the central and southern US, which corresponds to the distribution of the lone star tick. Allergy rates are 32 percent higher than elsewhere, however, doctors are not required to report the number of patients suffering from the alpha-gal allergies, so the true number of affected individuals is unknown.

Some people with cat allergies may also be allergic to pig carcass and other food animals because of a type of cross-reactive allergy known as pork-cat syndrome. Alpha-gal allergies are very similar to pork-cat syndrome so mis-identification can occur.(1054) The reaction occurs 4 to 8 hours after the consumption of mammalian flesh products, instead of the typical rapid onset with most food allergies. After the delayed onset, the allergic response is typical of most food allergies, including severe whole-body itching, hives, angioedema (swelling under the skin), gastrointestinal upset, and possible anaphylaxis.

Chapter 28: HUMAN DISEASES, page 269.   Previous  |  Home  |  Next

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