Bacteria resistant to antibiotics most critically important to humans has been found in pork from supermarket shelves in Spain, Brazil and Thailand, it has been claimed.
The routine overuse of antibiotics is propping up low-welfare practices in pig farming and contributing to the superbug crisis.
World Animal Protection tested pork from the shelves of supermarkets in Australia, Brazil, Spain and Thailand, finding ‘superbugs’ resistant to antibiotics of highest critical importance to humans in three of the four countries.
The UK imports over 700,000 tonnes of pork each year. Only Asda, Co-op Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in the UK publish volumes of antibiotics used in their meat products.
World Animal Protection, Head of Farming, Jacqueline Mills said: “We tested pork products to see for ourselves how the pig industry contributes to superbugs, and to provide evidence to supermarkets to urge them to take responsibility and help to raise pigs right.
“Factory farm conditions for pigs cause them immense pain and stress, which involves a steady overuse of antibiotics. But there is a better way. Supermarkets must demand their suppliers improve the welfare of pigs. Higher-welfare systems allow for responsible antibiotic use, as has been proven in Sweden.
“We need to see an end to close confinement and barren environments, so pigs can live in social groups in comfortable environments with opportunities to express natural behaviour. Supermarkets should be setting the bar far higher to ensure the animals in their supply chains are less stressed, and antibiotics are used responsibly in farming.”