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A Broader View of Drug-based Pollution

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We have recently become aware of the way in which chemical-based drugs pollute the environment and water sources. Yet we forget that veterinary medicine uses synthetic molecules just like the pharmaceutical industry. How can we bring an end to this situation which only leads to disaster?

In the case of veterinary medicine, we must take two situations into account:

  • The first concerns the treatment of both farm and domesticated animals. It is of course important to give them the necessary treatment when they catch a disease. However, while the ends are fully justifiable, the means are not to be recommended because they contribute to the pollution of the earth. The phenomenon is far from negligible if we consider the magnitude of the animal population in Europe.
  • The second situation is much more worrisome as it is the result of what could be qualified as “false veterinary medicine” which is practiced on industrial-scale factory farms where animals are forced to endure unacceptable living conditions.

Pollution levels in bovines, swine, and various species of fish are growing dangerously. In addition to compulsory vaccinations, these fragile animal populations receive large quantities of chemical-based medication and antibiotics.

Permanent contamination of freshwater
and seawater

In the case of land-based animal populations, the water that has been used largely goes on to pollute rivers and streams and to contaminate groundwater.

The situation is different in the case of aquaculture as the oceans become permanently contaminated. We can measure the gravity of this situation through a concrete example: salmon farming on a Chilean archipelago, which began in the 1980s, grew into 550 farms by 2007. Troubled by the repercussions on the environment, an NGO revealed that 385 tons of antibiotics had been used in that year alone, without counting the chemical-based drugs that were used as supplements. 385,000 kilos of anti-infectious molecules were thus used in these farms which are an aberration. In what quantities did these chemicals go on to pollute the Southern Pacific Ocean?
In 2007-2008, a virus all but decimated the salmon population, and the fish that survived were met with a sad fate. The only response that was envisaged was simply to open new aquaculture farms in other locations.

That same year, salmon farming in Norway was responsible for the use of 650 kilos of antibiotics. The figures remain unknown in the case of farms in Canada, the UK, and France, yet pollution remains present to varying degrees in the Atlantic Ocean and the Northern Seas.

To what extent has the practice of aquaculture over the last twenty years brought about a rise in pollution levels? What harmful effects has this already caused?

This assessment has demonstrates how bodies of freshwater and seawater have been contaminated by human irresponsibility and greed. All forms of aquatic life find their living conditions transformed without end. Just how long will this frightening phenomenon continue?

Our beautiful and precious Earth has been pillaged of its resources by bands of barbarians who look upon money, and the power it grants, as their supreme idol.

The solution is also in the soul of mankind

How can we bring an end to such a situation, which only leads to disaster?
The first step would be a return to a form of veterinary medicine that is offered to us by medicinal plants; the second would be to disavow such a pernicious type of industrial farming.

Yet the solution is also to be found in the soul of mankind, who should return to a noble vision of the universe, and give a higher meaning to life, no mater what form this may take.

It is also a necessity to return to an equilibrium that would bring about the well-being of all forms of life — plant, animal and human.

Where are we to find charismatic individuals who would be able to rally popular opinion and bring about initiatives that are becoming more urgent every day? They must be found before disaster pushes us to return to certain fundamentals which still remain imprecise.

Will humanity have the wisdom to act at this critical moment when everything has not yet been lost, when hope is still permitted?

Dr. Yvette Parès
Professor at the University of Dakar from 1960 to 1992
Doctor of Science and Medicine
Director of the Center for Biological Research on Leprosy from 1975 to 1992
Director of the Hôpital Traditionnel de Keur Massar (Senegal) from 1980 to 2003

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