A group of 54 investors who manage $1.41 trillion in client assets have decided to begin a campaign against antibiotic usage in the meat and poultry industry. On March 15th they sent a letter to 10 of the largest US and British restaurant companies, including Mcdonald’s, Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza Group, demanding that they lay out a plan for removing antibiotics from their supply chains.
In the UK 45% of all antibiotics are used on farm animals and in the US the number is as high as 80%. Researchers from the World Health Organization have warned that such heavy usage in these industries will lead to a “post-antibiotic era” in which we can no longer treat infections due to high levels of drug resistance.
For example, a strain of the most common form of food poisoning in Britain, Campylobacter, which is usually contracted through undercooked meats, was found to be at the highest level of resistance to the drug Ciprofloxacin in a decade. In 2005 it was found that about 30% of the strain had some level of drug resistance, in 2015 it had risen to as high as 48%.
The investors believe that consumers are moving away from factory-farmed foods and that regulations on these industries are likely to be tightened greatly. This, combined with the massive risk to human health, has motivated these investors to protect their investors assets.
It is estimated that drug resistant infections could cost the world as much as $100 trillion dollars by 2050.