Author:Suzanne Hocknell (Newcastle University)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper, I unpack the ways in which antimicrobial resistance policies are entangled with maintaining food systems that rely on globalised cheap meat, and begin to explore possibilities for eating-well as an ecological living with, in, and amongst, microbial communities.
Paper long abstract:
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has major global implications for human health, animal health, agriculture, and the economy. The 2016 O'Neill report identified the reduction of "the extensive and unnecessary use of antibiotics in agriculture" as one of four key interventions needed to tackle AMR, yet within the food industry antimicrobial drugs remain important and necessary tools to support farm animal health and welfare, and the safety of foodstuffs. Policy responses to AMR to date have focused on maintaining the antibiosis model of health through the stewardship of antibacterial pharmaceuticals. Such policy can succeed in its attempts to slow the spread of resistance to antimicrobials through more efficient prescription, it can possibly (with enough economic incentives) speed up the production of new antibiotics, but it cannot reverse evolution. In attempting to 'save' antibiotics and 'modern' medicine from antimicrobial resistance, policy remains focussed on more 'efficient' use of the tools of modernity - rationalisation, surveillance, and securitisation. In this paper I explore the ways in which AMR food and farming policies and interventions are entangled with maintaining the profitability of current food production and retail models that rely on moving cheap meat within global networks, and begin to explore possibilities for eating-well as a collective and ecological living with, in, and amongst, microbial communities.
Meetings over and around food