A game of chicken: how India’s poultry farms are spawning global superbugs

In a warehouse on a farm in Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad, a clutch of chicks has just been delivered. Some 5,000 birds peck at one another as they loiter around their shed that will become cramped as they grow. Bags containing their feed for five weeks are stacked outside the shed. Some of the chicks gulp down a yellow liquid (sugar water) from plastic containers. “Now the supervisor will come, and we will start giving the chicks the medicines prescribed by him,” says the farm caretaker. 

The medicines, antibiotics, are given to the birds to protect them from diseases or to make them gain weight faster, so that more can be grown each year for greater profit. One drug typically given this way is colistin. Doctors call it the ‘last hope’ antibiotic because it is used to treat patients critically ill with infections that have become resistant to nearly all other drugs.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for the use of such antibiotics, which it calls “critically important to human medicines”, to be restricted in animals and banned as growth promoters. Their continued use in farming increases the chance of bacteria developing resistance to them, leaving them useless when treating patients.....Read more


Source web page:The Hindu

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