Alex Lockwood’s documentary The End of Medicine continues his exploration of factory farming which he began with 73 Cows. Here, Lockwood seeks to draw a connecting line through factory farming, pandemics, and anti-microbial resistance in the current installment.
Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), for the uninitiated, speaks to the micro-organisms that make us sick, like various bacteria becoming strongly resistant to our antibiotics. For example, you contract a case of pneumonia. Whereas in prior decades, one week of penicillin would set you back to health, now you require the fifth generation, super-potent version called azithromycin. With increasingly stronger microbes, sooner or later, the azithromycin will no longer be effective, and the pharmaceutical giants will be called upon to create an even stronger sixth-generation antibiotic in a continuing spiral of disease and over-medicated people. Or so the data suggests.
Covid-19, our latest pandemic, was bad. While The End of Medicine seeks to draw a connection from the Chinese Wet Markets to the spread of Covid-19, there’s plenty of data to suggest Covid-19 was, in fact, a lab leak from the level iv infectious disease cosponsored by the United States of America’s National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the French health authority in Wuhan. While the footage of the Wuhan wet market absolutely tears at the heartstrings and my personal sense of compassion, it’s important to note a definitive causal through has not been established to this date.
“…seeks to draw a connection from the Chinese Wet Markets to the spread of Covid-19…”
Factory farming is absolutely cruel. In her interview, Dr. Alice Brough, a former factory farm veterinarian specializing in pigs, damns the factory farming industry. The over-reliance on antibiotics in animal feed and the rate of euthanasia because these animals are clearly suffering in claustrophobic and cold conditions are horrific. The footage provided casts a bright light on the mistreatment of animals in such captivity.
At the same time, humans are omnivores. I recollect many occasions when vegan friends and loved ones have decided not to be vegan on vacation. I even know a vegan who opted to eat salmon occasionally, thus belying their vegan diet. We still have a need to eat animal protein – meat. We probably need to start over in the farming of animals, though.
The End of Medicine is at its most effective when it discusses the connection between factory farming and the overuse of antibiotics. That antibiotics have been used as a growth hormone for farm animals in one of the industrial factory horrors is incontestable. I specifically buy certified kosher meat that has not had antibiotics or any other sort of enhancement for my own family. While the good Dr. Brough will suggest such protein is even worse for you, my family has not suffered any deleterious effects from exclusively eating kosher meat once or twice a week; it’s also probably because we limit our consumption that helps out as well.
Ultimately, like all documentaries, The End of Medicine seeks to forward Lockwood’s personal position. We should all, the mighty and the weak, the rich and powerful, along with the impoverished, adopt a vegan diet. It’s his understanding a vegan diet is the most sustainable. While I passionately disagree with his conclusion, this is a wonderful film. I would encourage anyone to watch it, if nothing else, to be “food for thought.”
"…a wonderful film...'food for thought.'"