Target: David Bane, CEO
Goal: To urge Trader Joe’s to sell only drug-free meat in their specialty food stores
The meat and poultry industry of the United States is responsible for the purchase of 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in this country. These antibiotics are fed to meat-producing livestock even when the animals show no signs of illness. The meat industry claims that they are being proactive in the prevention of contagious diseases, but this overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria known as superbugs that can make even the most common infection deadly for both humans and other species.
Factory farms use antibiotics to prevent illness in livestock kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and to promote growth in animals that are confined to small spaces. Livestock producers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Norway have already proven that when livestock is well cared for and allowed to graze freely, the use of antibiotics becomes unnecessary. The National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C. convened an expert panel to review the role that antibiotics administered to livestock plays in the antibiotic resistance of bacteria found in food. The panel concluded that cases of antibiotic-resistant human diseases have clearly occurred as the result of bacteria in livestock having been treated by the drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continually reviewing and updating databases of bacteria that becomes resistant to current antibiotic treatment and the diseases that these bacteria cause. Among them are Neisseria meningitidis, the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children in the United States and Streptococcus pneumoniaeis, the leading cause of pneumonia and sinusitis in young children worldwide.
Currently, there is only one U.S. supermarket chain that sells a complete line of drug-free meat. Whole Foods Market has made the commitment to keep antibiotics out of their meat and Trader Joe’s should be the next chain to take a stand. The national food chain already offers some drug-free meat options and celebrates its commitment to sustainable farming. By offering only drug-free meat, Trader Joe’s will protect its consumers and send a clear message to the meat industry that drug dosing livestock is not a responsible alternative to eliminating factory farms.
Dear Mr. Bane,
We applaud Trader Joe’s on your commitment to sustainable farming and as you have voiced your commitment to the health of your patrons and the planet, we ask you to take the next step in responsible food marketing. We urge you to source and sell only antibiotic-free meat and poultry in your stores. It has been proven that the widespread use of antibiotics in food-producing animals contributes to the spread of antibiotic-resistant human disease.
We ask that you support the preservation of antibiotics and send a message to livestock producers to change their priorities and find better solutions to the problem of overcrowding and sanitation on their farms.
[Your Name Here]