After repeated delays, tonight's CBS Evening News will broadcast the first of a two-part series on antibiotic use in food-animal production. CBS news Anchor Katie Couric conducted the interviews and will be featured in the reports.
Viewers of this morning's CBS The Early Show, received a glimpse of what the news broadcast will entail. The morning host talked about antibiotic use in food-animals as a "ticking time bomb" and this practice being "a threat to your health."
Couric was in the studio to talk about her own "investigation" where she frequently referred to "factory farms."
Providing antibiotics to food-animals "is a practice that really needs to be reconsidered," Couric said. She continued to talk about how antibiotic residues can be transferred via water runoff and handling meat. Both are factually questionable statements.
The CBS news Web site has a preview of tonight's "investigative" report.
On the site, accompanying the video, is the following statement: "'It's estimated that as much as 70 percent of the antibiotics in this country went to agriculture last year. They're given to farm animals, to make them big and healthy – and to prevent disease.
Experts warn that the overuse of antibiotics in animals is leading to creation of new strains of drug-resistant bacteria - that can infect you and me.
Will fewer drugs will be effective in humans who really need them as a result?"
The first report will appear tonight (Feb. 9), with the second report on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Editor's note: The CBS report features Russ Kremmer, a Missouri pork producer who also was featured in a Dec. 29, Associated Press article about antibiotic use in food-animal production. He is now raises "natural" pork. His case is several years old and is not a common occurrence facing pork production workers.
CBS talked to many of the same anti-antimicrobial sources as the AP article, although CBS did a better job of talking to some food-industry representatives than AP did. We'll have to see for ourselves what the end result will be. Chances are it will be pretty damning. Expect to see typical activist themes highlighted such as "factory farms", "unhealthy, filthy and crowded" animal living conditions; "natural = happy pigs."
Food-industry watchers believe this report is one of many orchestrated efforts under way to get Congress to pass a ban on antimicrobial use in food-animal production. Such legislation has been proposed in the House and the Senate, but action had stalled.