World Animal Protection Thailand Launches “Rowing for Farm Animals” Campaign Against Antimicrobial Resistant Superbugs Linked to Factory Farms, Featuring Maria Poonlertlarp and Asst. Prof. Dr. Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, Embarking on SUP Expedition along Three Rivers, Starting with the Bang Pakong River
- World Animal Protection Thailand conducted tests in areas surrounding pig and chicken farms, revealing traces of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs resulting from the overuse of antibiotics in farms.
- Initiating the “Row for Farm Animals” campaign, World Animal Protection Thailand aims to foster public engagement and awareness about the peril posed by superbugs contamination in public waterways. The campaign will feature a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Board march along three major rivers in Thailand, commencing with the Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao Province, followed by the Nakhon Chai Si River in Nakhon Pathom Province, and concluding at the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
- World Animal Protection Thailand urgently calls upon the government to prioritize farm animal welfare by swiftly implementing laws and regulations to curtail the unnecessary use of antibiotics in farm animals. This proactive step is crucial in mitigating the spread of AMR.
Chachoengsao, November 4, 2023 – World Animal Protection Thailand, in partnership with the Muang Chachoengsao Municipality Office and dedicated volunteers, is proud to introduce the “Rowing for Farm Animals” campaign. This initiative seeks to heighten public awareness regarding the imminent threat of superbug contamination public water courses, as well as unveil the latest report on superbug presence in these waterways.
The focal point of the campaign will be a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) Board expedition along three of Thailand’s major rivers, commencing with the Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao Province on November 4, 2023, followed by the Nakhon Chai Si River in Nakhon Pathom Province on November 11, 2023, and concluding at the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on November 21, 2023.
Recent investigations conducted by World Animal Protection Thailand have revealed the presence of antimicrobial resistant superbugs in areas surrounding pig and chicken farms, pointing to an alarming overuse of antibiotics within these farming operations.
The findings from October 2023 demonstrate that antimicrobial resistant superbugs persist in rivers near factory farms, mirroring results from tests conducted four years prior. Among the identified superbugs are antibiotic-resistant strains of E.coli and Klebesiella, which are commonly associated with antibiotics used in factory farms, such as Ampicillin, Amoxy-clavulanate, and Tetracycline.
These antibiotics closely link to those used to treat various bacterial infections in humans, including urinary tract infections, bronchitis infections, ear infections, septicemia, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The spread of these superbugs poses a significant risk, potentially leading to fatal infections. Presently, 38,000 individuals succumb to resistant infections annually, with an additional 88,000 infections resulting in extended hospital stays (3.24 million days longer in hospital stay), amounting to substantial economic losses of over 40,000 million baht. (source: https://amrthailand.net)
For the first time, prominent figures from diverse fields, Maria Poonlertlarp and Asst. Prof. Dr. Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, are joining forces in the fight against superbugs through the SUP board expedition.
Maria Poonlertlarp, World Animal Protection Thailand Ambassador, emphasized, “Antibiotic resistance is a severe threat that often goes unnoticed. Through random water testing near animal farms in Thailand, we uncovered the presence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, stemming from the overuse of antibiotics in the farming industry. This crisis is a direct result of low animal welfare standards on these farms. Thus, we has launched ‘Rowing for Farm Animals’ in the hope of spurring awareness and inspiring reform within the food system. By putting an end to needless suffering and elevating farm animal welfare, we can significantly reduce the peril of superbug dissemination, ultimately benefiting both farm animals and humans, as well as our environment.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, President of the Kayaking for Rivers Club and Thammasat Fleet, underlined the critical role rivers play in our lives. “Rivers are our lifeblood, serving as a vital resource for agriculture and consumption. We drink from them, eat from them, and nourish ourselves from them. Yet, we’ve tainted them, allowing toxins and pollutants from agriculture and industry to seep into our rivers. In a cruel twist, these toxins circle back to harm us. The antibiotic resistance originating from factory farms and present in our rivers poses a grave threat to our health.”
I am deeply grateful to be a part of this campaign on the Bang Pakong River. While I’ve organized numerous kayaking events across the central region of Thailand, my hometown river, the Bang Pakong, holds a special place in my heart. I am confident that our efforts here will not only show the local community about the challenges facing the river but also will serve as an inspiration for people in other regions.
Poor animal welfare lies at the heart of the superbug crisis. Urgent action is required from the government to enhance farm animal welfare standards
Chokdee Smithkittipol, Campaign Manager – Food Systems at World Animal Protection Thailand, stressed, “Despite the nation’s strategic plan to combat antimicrobial resistance, the prevalence of superbugs in Thailand remains alarmingly high. The results of the “Report on the detection of important drug-resistant bacteria from the environment around pig and chicken farms, Oct. 2023” reveal a persistence of superbugs, mirroring the findings from four years ago. These superbugs not only jeopardize the well-being of those living near farms but also reflect the dismal quality of life of the animals. It’s imperative that we address the root cause of this crisis: poor animal welfare. World Animal Protection implores the government to focus on enhancing the welfare of farm animals and enforcing a ban on preventative antibiotic use. This health crisis is a matter of life and death for us all.”
We have to start now, before superbugs kills us and everyone we know and love. World Animal Protection calls upon the government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, to take swift action by:
- Elevating animal welfare to meet FARMS (Farm Animal Responsible Minimum Standard), an international benchmark proven to reduce antibiotic usage.
- Enforcing a ban on preventative antibiotic use and providing training and support for appropriate antibiotic use to combat resistance.
- Embracing the “One Health, One Welfare” Concept, collaborating with relevant organizations to achieve tangible progress in addressing antibiotic resistance across humans, animals, and the environment.
- Establishing tools and channels to engage the public in monitoring and auditing the enforcement of related laws.
For further updates on the ” Rowing for Farm Animals ” campaign throughout November, visit: Rowing for Farm Animals Campaign and our Facebook page: World Animal Protection Thailand.
#RowingforFarmAnimals #WorldAnimalProtectionThailand #BanAMR #WorldAnimalProtectionThailand
Report on the detection of important drug-resistant bacteria from the environment around pig and chicken farms, Oct. 2023. https://bitly.ws/Zde7