February 05, 2004
You Are What You Eat Eats

This is, in some ways, a continuation of Slavin's previous post and our discussion about our dependence on drugs. Michael Pollan (one of the most perceptive writers out there on food and ecology) observes in this Frontline interview, among other things, that the mass-production of livestock a) yields sick livestock and b) as a result makes us sick.

In a nutshell, we pack these cows into feedlots (essentially medieval cities with no real sewage systems, resulting in rampant microbial vectors for which antibiotics are needed), we feed them corn (and not grass, the stuff they were evolved to ruminate on) which makes them grow fatter and faster but which does serious liver damage to them (see Super Size Me) which in turn requires more antibiotics, which in turn breeds resistant microbes which in turn wreak havoc on our systems.

As Pollan points out, it's not the drugs per se that are fucked up, it's the system which created the need for drugs.

Posted by tmonkey at February 05, 2004 10:54 AM

In another twist on this, the Bird Flu has popped up in Deleware. They say it's not the same strain jumping from birds to people, and I'd like to believe them, but I'm just hoping it's not like that first dead rat in the beginning Camus' plague.

Posted by: elia on February 7, 2004 11:48 AM
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