New Delhi: Chickens raised in India have been dosed with some of the strongest antibiotics known to medicine that can have repercussions on human health.
A study by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent, non-profit media organization, has found that hundreds of tonnes of Colistin – an antibiotic of last resort – ship to India for the routine treatment of chickens.
In its report, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has said that, “Indian poultry farming is creating global superbugs”.
The report which was published on the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism website claims that, “Colisti, an antibiotic, is given to the birds [chickens] to protect them against diseases or to make them gain weight faster so more can be grown each year at greater profit.”
The website has quoted Professor Walsh, an adviser to the UN on antimicrobial resistance, who says that Colistin should be treated “as an environmental toxin”.
“Colistin should only be used on very sick patients. Under any other circumstances it should be thought of and treated as an environmental toxin. It should be labelled as such. It should not be exported all over the world to be used in chicken feed,” Professor Walsh was quoted in the report.
Colistin, which doctors call as the “last hope” antibiotic, is used to treat patients who are critically ill with infections, including pneumonia, which cannot be treated by other medicines. The World Health Organisation has called for the use of such antibiotics, which it calls “critically important to human medicine”, to be restricted in animals and banned as growth promoters.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, “India [has] at least five animal pharmaceutical companies [that] are openly advertising products containing Colistin as growth promoters.”
One of the main affects of Colistin is that is makes human bodies drug resistant.
The World Health Organisation has called drug resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development. Currently the problem is thought to kill 700,000 people worldwide.