Compassion in World Farming's Philip Lymbery has joined celebrities Leslie Ash and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to recognise the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who have suffered from MRSA.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph ( 7.02KB) , whilst recognising the human suffering of the disease, the authors drew attention to the risk of future MRSA outbreaks posed by factory farming. The letter points out that tens of millions of pigs and poultry around the world have become carriers of a strain of MRSA which can pass to humans. Serious human infections and deaths across Europe have already been caused by farm-animal strains.
Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming, said: "The risk of farm animal MRSA emerging as a major human health issue is greatly increased by factory farming. Such intensive systems, where very large numbers of animals are kept closely together in confined spaces, could provide the circumstances for such infections to emerge as a major new reservoir of human infection."
The use of antibiotics, which is common in factory farming, also increases the risk of resistant strains developing.
To coincide with World MRSA Day earlier this month, the letter was signed by Tracy Worcester, the director of the film 'Pig Business' and senior representatives from Friends of the Earth and The Soil Association. It was also signed by Professors Mark Enright and Vyvyan Howard and Lady Carole Bamford from Daylesford Organics.
Tracey Worcester concluded that testing at slaughterhouses for the MRSA strain as well as imported meat would be an essential first step in trying to reduce the amount of animals and humans suffering with this potentially deadly infection.