Most of us have heard that treating animals with animals with antibiotics is bad. It drives up costs of those drugs for people, creates superbugs, etc. If you want to hear more about it, you can read this article. Representative Louise Slaughter (the only microbiologist in congress) has several times introduced legislation to ban the practice of giving healthy animals antibiotics because they're so important for human health. Sadly, this legislation gets pushed around and tabled in favor of "more important" legislation. (What can be more important than an issue that affects the health of our entire species?)
I just have a few thoughts on this. The first being, it would be an incredible overhaul of our entire way of farming if this legislation passed. Part of the reason this practice was started was because of factory farms. It's too time-consuming and expensive to treat every sick animal individually. Also, having large numbers of animals crammed into little boxes together naturally breeds more diseases amongst them. Therefore, if we reserved antibiotics for the exclusive use of sick humans and animals, it would be too expensive to keep them penned up. Which would bring the real cost of regular meat into more competitive range with organic and more people would eat organic.
This would also mean that an incredibly cruel and inhumane way of treating our farm animals would end, which is just as important to me as the health aspects. I don't see how anyone can claim to be better than animals when we systematically treat so many animals so barbarically.
The other major consequence I see is that, if meat reflected its true costs that way, people would eat less meat and a lot of the health problems in the country (like obesity and all of its attendant health woes) would start to decline. Suddenly, vegetables would be seen as the cheaper option that they really are and people would use meat more sparingly, the way we're meant to. Also, fast food and pre-packaged, processed meals would be more expensive so people might start learning to cook for themselves. I really can't see any downsides to this legislation passing. So, write to your congress people, let them know it if you think this is important too! Or at the very least, start buying organic meat and dairy products. Your immune system will thank you. And then you can thank your immune system when it protects you.
One little update on my experiment in not washing my face: my dear friend F came over last night. It's been weeks since we last saw each other. She's taking a summer class and in it they were discussing marketing and the fact that, essentially, the whole hygiene industry is based in marketing rather than any real need. (The same can be said for a lot of industries, but they focused on hygiene products.) So I told her about the site No More Dirty Looks and my own experiment. She said, "You know, I noticed as soon as I came in that your skin is looking particularly radiant!" I felt the need to point out my stress zit (for which I blame my dog), but the compliment was lovely. Score one for the use of plain water instead of heavily marketed products!