FDA Ignored its Own Findings on the Dangers of Antibiotic Overuse on Farms by Alicia Graef February 1, 2014
IN the 35 years since Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” was published, jump-starting the animal rights movement in the United States, the number of animals used in cosmetics testing and scientific research has dropped significantly, and the number of dogs and cats killed in shelters has fallen by more than half. Nevertheless, because the amount of red meat that Americans eat per capita has held steady at more than 100 pounds a year as the population has increased, more animals than ever suffer from injuries and stress on factory farms.
Veal calves and gestating sows are so confined as to suffer painful bone and joint problems. The unnatural high-grain diets provided in feedlots cause severe gastric distress in many animals. And faulty or improperly used stun guns cause the painful deaths of thousands of cows and pigs a year.
We are most likely stuck with factory farms, given that they produce most of the beef and pork Americans consume. But it is still possible to reduce the animals’ discomfort — through neuroscience. Recent advances suggest it may soon be possible to genetically engineer livestock so that they suffer much less.
This prospect stems from a new understanding of how mammals sense pain. The brain, it turns out, has two separate pathways for perceiving pain: a sensory pathway that registers its location, quality (sharp, dull or burning, for example) and intensity, and a so-called affective pathway that senses the pain’s unpleasantness. This second pathway appears to be associated with activation of the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, because people who have suffered damage to this part of the brain still feel pain but no longer find it unpleasant. (The same is true of people who are given morphine, because there are more receptors for opiates in the affective pain pathway than in the sensory pain pathway.)
Article Date: 13 Apr 2008 – 9:00 PDT
Time down on the farm with animals could provide some therapeutic benefit for people with mental illness, according to researchers writing in the open access journal Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health. The results come from the first randomised controlled study of the benefits of farm animals, as opposed to domestic pets.
Bente Berget and Bjarne Braastad of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in As, working with Oivind Ekeberg of the University of Oslo, Norway, note that the benefits of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) for mental disorders using cats and dogs has been well studied. However, until now, there have been no controlled trials of farm animals in treating psychiatric disorders.
The use of farms in promoting human mental and physical health in cooperation with health authorities is increasing in Europe and the USA, particularly under the Green care banner. Historically, the approach was associated with hospitals, psychiatric departments and other health institutions but today, most Green care projects involve community gardens, city farms, allotment gardens and farms.
To assess the benefits of Green care, the researchers asked ninety patients (59 women and 31 men) with schizophrenia, affective disorders, anxiety, and personality disorders to complete self-assessment questionnaires on quality of life, coping ability and self-efficacy, before a 12-week period spending three hours twice a week working with the farm animals.
The before and after results showed that AAT with farm animals had some positive effect on self-efficacy, the ability to cope, of patients with long-lasting psychiatric symptoms, their quality of life. “During the six months follow-up period self-efficacy was significantly better in the treatment group, but not in the control group,” the researchers say.
They add that, “Further controlled studies are needed for confirmation and to more accurately define the psychiatric population with the greatest potential to benefit.”
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
1. Animal-assisted therapy with farm animals for persons with psychiatric disorders, effects on self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life: a randomized controlled trial
Bente Berget, Oivind Ekeberg and Bjarne O Braastad
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health (in press)
Article available at the journal website: http://www.cpementalhealth.com/
All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.
2. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health (CPEMH) will encompass all aspects of clinical and epidemiological research in psychiatry and mental health, and will aim to build a bridge between clinical and epidemiological research.
CPEMH is aimed at clinicians and researchers focused on improving the knowledge base for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of mental health conditions; and improving the knowledge concerning frequencies and determinants of mental health conditions in the community and the populations at risk.
The journal will also cover health services research and economic aspects of psychiatry, with special attention given to manuscripts presenting new results and methods in the important area of epidemiology of treatments in mental heath, particularly clinical epidemiologic investigation of pharmaceutical agents.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing immediate access without charge to the peer-reviewed biological and medical research it publishes. This commitment is based on the view that open access to research is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.
Source: Charlotte Webber
Animal-assisted therapy with farm animals for persons with psychiatric disorders: effects on self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life, a randomized controlled trial Bente Berget1, Øivind Ekeberg2 and Bjarne O Braastad1
1 Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
2 University of Oslo, Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine, P.O. Box 1111 Blindern, NO-0317, Oslo, Norway
Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 2008, 4:9doi:10.1186/1745-0179-4-9
The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.cpementalhealth.com/content/4/1/9
|Received:||26 October 2007|
|Accepted:||11 April 2008|
|Published:||11 April 2008|
© 2008 Berget et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) for humans with mental disorders have been well-documented using cats and dogs, but there is a complete lack of controlled studies using farm animals as therapeutic agents for psychiatric patients. The study was developed in the context of Green care, a concept that involves the use of farm animals, plants, gardens, or the landscape in recreational or work-related interventions for different target groups of clients in cooperation with health authorities. The present study aimed at examining effects of a 12-week intervention with farm animals on self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life among adult psychiatric patients with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses.
The study was a randomized controlled trial and follow-up. Ninety patients (59 women and 31 men) with schizophrenia, affective disorders, anxiety, and personality disorders completed questionnaires to assess self-efficacy (Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale; GSE), coping ability (Coping Strategies Scale), and quality of life (Quality of Life Scale; QOLS-N) before, at the end of intervention, and at six months follow-up. Two-thirds of the patients (N = 60) were given interventions; the remaining served as controls.
There was significant increase in self-efficacy in the treatment group but not in the control group from before intervention (SB) to six months follow-up (SSMA), (SSMA-SB; F1,55 = 4.20, p= 0.05) and from end of intervention (SA) to follow-up (SSMA-SA; F1,55 = 5.6, p= 0.02). There was significant increase in coping ability within the treatment group between before intervention and follow-up (SSMA-SB = 2.7, t = 2.31, p = 0.03), whereas no changes in quality of life was found. There were no significant changes in any of the variables during the intervention.
AAT with farm animals may have positive influences on self-efficacy and coping ability among psychiatric patients with long lasting psychiatric symptoms.
The utilization of agricultural farms as a basis for promoting human mental and physical health in cooperation with health authorities is growing in several countries in Europe and in the United States of America. In some countries this is called Green care, a concept which is not restricted to the use of animals, but also includes plants, gardens, forests, and the landscape. Historically, Green care farms were associated with hospitals, psychiatric departments and other health institutions. Today, most Green care projects involve community gardens, city farms, allotment gardens and farms. Because many Green care farms are rather small compared with traditional farms, there is often a diversity of activities, with the possibility of meaningful work for different people and target groups. Other positive experiences with Green care like self-esteem, responsibility and sense of purpose are similar in the different countries . During the last decade, an increasing number of persons with mental disorders work with farm animals as part of their therapy [2–5].
Although Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) for humans with mental disorders has been well documented with cats and dogs, there is a complete lack of controlled studies of farm animals as therapeutic agents for psychiatric patients. Previous studies of AAT with companion animals have documented that human-animal interaction may decrease stress levels [6–12], and is shown to improve self-confidence, social competence and quality of life [13,14]. As it is shown that different types of animals may have different impact on people’s health [15,16], it is therefore worth investigating to what extent contact and work with farm animals will contribute to self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life among psychiatric patients.
In AAT with farm animals, we suggest that the combined effect of both contact and work with the animals can affect the patients positively; by providing a source of physical contact with a living “other”, and increased coping ability and self-esteem through routines that include feeding, milking, and caring for other living creatures. Green care programs with farm animals can be important supplements to a traditional psychiatric treatment in reaching the goals of self-esteem and coping ability. An intervention with farm animals will shift from care in an institutional regime to increased social integration and normalisation of care.
We have earlier reported increased intensity and exactness of work by patients with psychiatric disorders in a 12-week intervention with farm animals [17,18]. The patients also showed significantly lower anxiety at the end of the intervention and at follow-up six months after the end of the intervention compared with baseline. No such changes were found for the control group.
In the present paper based on the same sample we report on effects on self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life of a 12-week intervention with farm animals for adult psychiatric patients. The aims of the present study were as follows:
1) To examine whether animal-assisted therapy for psychiatric patients was associated with higher self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life after treatment and at six months follow-up.
2) To assess if there were different treatment responses in the different diagnostic groups.
3) To investigate the relationship between changes in self-efficacy, coping ability and quality of life and specific questions related to the intervention.
|But these moviegoers don’t represent mainstream America, and Food, Inc. certainly isn’t the next Hollywood blockbuster. In fact, despite the apparent best intentions of director Robert Kenner, Food, Inc. isn’t exactly the 21st-century movie version of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.In fact, cinematically, Food, Inc. is a rather slow-going and, at times, didactic screed against big-brand food producers. Although it appears to spare no brand, the abstract, fuzzy idea of “big food” winds up spreading the blame around enough to prevent any single brand from ending up the ultimate scapegoat, although the US$ 10 billion seed company Monsanto gets a thorough roasting (made all the worse by its refusal to talk to the filmmaker).|