There are a number of concerns about the impacts of industrial meat production on our own health, beyond the environmental issues. Bacterial infections that can be transmitted to humans, such as salmonella and campylobacter, can spread through large farms. The ability of these pathogens to enter the environment around farms and slaughterhouses, and to make humans ill, is a major modern worry.
Although there is a problematic shortage of research into the link between antibiotic use in animals and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans, scientists and policymakers agree that it is a significant part of the problem. The volumes here are large: in the US it’s been estimated that 80% of all antibiotics go to farm animals. When Jim O’Neill, the chair of a UK independent review on antimicrobial resistance, published his recommendations for action, reducing unnecessary use of antimicrobials in agriculture was the third item on his list.