Chemistry in Society – Its Impact

FYS 109
Paper #2 Chemistry in Society – Its Impact


So…. We Meat Again
Meat is something you often find on the common dinner table, the flesh of animals, something that has contributed to our health, protein and energy. In today’s society meat is a top discussion, whether it is healthy for us, or what to modify for it to be healthy for us. Any way you look at it our meat will forever be here on out dinner table and in our diets. The real question is are we hurting ourselves with our high demand for meat production?
If you weren’t already aware within all farming of our soon to be foods, there are commonly used antibiotics that help treat sick and dying animals. Sound pretty helpful right, but what if they were overusing these antibiotics to help the animals gain additional weight and causing harmful effect to us humans. Much controversy is going around about whether antibiotics should be used or if it is even beneficial. Throughout this paper I would like to highlight how our modern chemistry made antibiotics and how they are observed in society.
All around the world you can find cases and studies trying to prove that antibiotics are causing a resistance. I came across a story that I thought explained it very well; It was located on a website called Take part, that features original articles by journalist, activists and experts who care about our world. The specific article was by Richard Caniff and about his opinion on the residence antibiotics. Conniff at the time had a 10-month-old daughter, who was trying meat for the first time first time. Ruby (Caniff’s daughter) contracted a virulent bacterial strain Salmonella Heidelberg, from the first bite of meat she ever took. “She was one of 136 victims in that outbreak and among the 47.8 million cases, including 3,037 deaths, of food-borne illnesses in the United States that year.” (Meat Is Murder-but It's People Being Killed). The problem was that this outbreak was an antibiotic-resistant infections, and the chances of ruby surviving were very slim. Thankfully Ruby’s was lucky and her body accepted the antibiotic prescribed to her. Unfortually cases like Ruby’s are becoming disturbingly more common. According to the article Meat Is Murder-but It's People Being Killed (and Not How You Think) “Infections that resist antibiotic treatment now kill at least 23,000 Americans every year and cost the economy as much as $35 billion annually in added health care and lost productivity.” That number alone is one of the main reasons people tend to start to worry about what antibiotic they’re consuming, and the fight to stop it is only just beginning.
Starting off with our history of antibiotics, as of today we all use antibiotics on ourselves to cure the common cold, flu or infection, but it wasn’t till 1943 when a microbiologist, named Selman Waksman discovered a common antibiotic that could majorly help both animals and humans. He discovered this while testing some mold on a clod of earth extracted from the throat of a sick chicken. “When they tested the new drug on both animals and, eventually, humans, it proved effective on many of the same diseases as penicillin, and even more effective on a larger list”. (Antibiotics & Feed Additives for Livestock during the 1940s) Almost immediately there was a sudden interest in his new amazing discovery, and for this discovery “ Waksman received the Nobel prize for medicine in 1952.” (Antibiotics & Feed Additives for Livestock during the 1940s) As antibiotics began being used, many farmers noticed they produced many interesting side effects. “The animals were not only healthier, but they also grew faster on the same amount of feed.” (Antibiotics & Feed Additives for Livestock during the 1940s) That’s when Antibiotics were added to the feed of all animals in the herd, no matter their health, just to produce more livestock. All this research was going on during a very important time period between 1939-1940, which is know as the start of World War II. With food and livestock prices skyrocketing, this cheap antibiotics given to the animals helped by increasing their meat production by growing their cattle a lot faster.
Over seventy years later we still used those magic antibiotics