Antimicrobial resistance (or antibiotic resistance) is a rapidly growing global health crisis fueled by many factors, and the use of antibiotics as a routine practice to prevent disease in factory-farmed animals is a primary driver today. Residues of antibiotic drugs and drug-resistant bacteria–also called ‘superbugs’– contaminate our environment and food supply from misuse of antibiotics in farmed animals. The human toll from superbugs is significant and increasing, with at least 1.27 million deaths in 2019 due to drug-resistant bacterial infections and more than 600,000 food-borne cases of illness. This crisis has been called the “next global pandemic,” and if actions are not taken by key stakeholders, the issue will only continue to get worse.
Join us in urging Hormel to eliminate the use of antibiotics for disease prevention in its entire supply chain. Hormel must commit to a timebound policy, with third-party verification and clear and transparent reporting of progress.
The importance of addressing routine use of antibiotics cannot be overstated. Antibiotics are a band-aid to manage the cruel conditions that increase susceptibility to disease, such as overcrowding, removing young animals from their mothers too early, or painful physical mutilations (e.g., cutting piglets’ tails). This overuse of these drugs contributes to the rapid rise and spread of superbugs that cause life-threatening illnesses in humans.
In May of 2022, World Animal Protection and a coalition of other advocacy groups delivered an open letter to Hormel stressing the importance of strengthening its animal welfare policies to include detailed commitments to eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention across all farms supplying Hormel’s brand.
Reserving antibiotics for the treatment of sick animals when diagnosed by a veterinarian is imperative to curb the global superbug crisis and to hold factory farming accountable for the harm it causes. We must act now to end the overuse of these antibiotics and improve the living conditions and treatment of farmed animals.