You missed the real issue... while you still have a point. But the issue the article is about is not the prescription of antibiotics to humans but to cattle, that's actually why it talks about farmers
Cattle is fed antibiotics as a "preventive measure" just in case and with the aim of lowering production costs by avoiding diseases. Note that I haven't used quotes around 'fed' as they are literally doing that shoveling massive amounts of antibiotica in the the cattle's fodder.
You have clearly understood the dangers of prescribing unnecessary antibiotica to humans... now think about that at a ten of hundredfold scale which is what is happening right now
These antibiotics affect the public health in several manners:
- 1) Antibiotic residues can be still present in the meat and animal residues (urine, etc) and enter the human body where it will be able to produce effects such as the ones described by you
- 2) Already resistant microflora can contaminate the meat or reside in the environment the farmers are exposed too or can reach the outside world via urine and detritus or directly airborne
The issue is not new and actually already causing quite some trouble, deaths and huge economical costs: You may recall the bacteria 'Salmonella' that is practically ubiquitous in all poultry products that you can find in a common supermarket. This microorganism causes thousands of infections yearly and including deaths to such an extend that in warm EU countries like Spain it has been forbidden to use eggs and egg products in public establishments during the summer. These organisms are actually resistant strains that have been selected and thrive in the antibiotic laden bodies of industrial poultry.
Another source of concern is the proliferation of "superbugs" in the hospitals which are already causing intra-hospitalary infections to humans ending many times in chronic diseases which are expensive to treat
This goes to such an extend that here in Holland personel of risk groups (farmers, meat-industry workers, veterinaries, etc) are required to access the hospitals and sanitary instalations through a separate entry and are also held in isolated precincts
.And there is the risk of direct infections such as we saw with the bird flu or the 2009 Q Fever epidemics here in Holland, not to forget the Mad Cows episodes.
And the problem is not only the fact that these medicines are being used, the problem is the humungous scale of the operation as cattle's biomass exceeds the mass of the human population several times (!).
Summing up: We are wasting a valuable weapon in the fight against diseases and at the same time creating new and costly health hazards just to get some extra bacon. Most of which we directly throw away
Some interesting texts: