We recently posted a story about the problem of antibiotics in farm animals and how California put a ban on the practice. They're not the only ones taking action. Subway has made a pledge to eliminate all antibiotic-treated meat out of their shops by 2025 and to eliminate antibiotic-treated chicken by 2016.
Many of the increases in super-bugs, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, can be traced to the huge use of antibiotics in the livestock industry. A large percentage of all antibiotics produced go directly into livestock feed to help control disease and speed animal growth. But this causes rapid natural selection in the bacteria.
Over enough time, bacteria resistant to antibiotics emerge, and that's a major problem for animals and humans alike. 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria yearly.
Subway isn't the first restaurant to remove antibiotic raised meat from their menu, but they are part of a growing trend in the restaurant industry to acknowledge the problem and respond to their customer concerns. McDonalds, Chipotle, Panera, and other major chains are also making the switch.
While these moves are voluntary, it is likely that some federal regulation on the use of antibiotics in farm animals will come around at some point. By taking independent steps, companies are showing that they are concerned about the well-being of their customers, as well as being pro-active leaders in the broader social movement - something that can be good for their bottom line as well. If you haven't thought about antibiotic-free meat before, maybe it’s time.