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We all know about the rampant use of antibiotics in commercial chicken farming. Most industrial farmers pump their chickens full of antibiotics in order to make them grow bigger, faster. Also, due to the nature of factory farming, antibiotics are heavily used in order to prevent the spread of disease throughout chicken.

Although the uses these antibiotics are made for seem positive, they are anything but that. The growth-enhancing antibiotics makes chicken grow to unnatural sizes, causing limb damage and often resulting in broken legs. Many experts also agree that such heavy use of antibiotics will lead to antibiotic resistant “super-bugs” that will affect people as well animals.

Even though antibiotic use in the chicken farming industry is at an all-time high, one farmer is changing the game with the use of oregano.

Replacing Antibiotics with Oregano

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Scott Sechler, the owner of Bell & Evans chicken company, has been making headlines for his replacement of antibiotics with oregano.

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For the last three years, the chickens at Bell & Evans have been eating a special diet that is laced with oregano oil and a little bit of cinnamon. Sechler has been trying to find a healthier alternative to antibiotics for years now, and he claims that this mixture of oregano and cinnamon is just as effective at warding off the bacterial diseases that affect chicken.

“I have worried a bit about how I’m going to sound talking about this,” Sechler told the New York Times. “But I really do think we’re on to something here.”

The oregano oil product that Sechler uses, called By-O-Reg Plus, is made by the Dutch company Ropapharm International. Several studies were conducted on the efficiency of By-O-Reg Plus, one which compared its use to four different types of antibiotics. During the study, researchers found that By-O-Reg Plus was more effective than all four products in preventing symptoms of e. coli in piglets, making it a proven and effective antibiotic.

Benefits of Oregano

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Many people know of the health benefits that oregano provide when they eat it. However, most of those people don’t know that it also contains properties that make it an effective antimicrobial agent.

One study tested the effect that oregano oil had on two diseases that have a major impact on livestock: chicken lactobacilli and e. coli. Researchers used oregano oil in combination with a variety of other typical antibiotics, and found that, in almost all cases, oregano enhanced their bacteria-killing capabilities. Oregano has also been found to be effective at killing parasites found in the intestines.

Other health benefits of oregano include anti-inflammatory properties, which have been said to help with a variety of inflammatory disorders including asthma and arthritis.

For more information on food companies going organic, click here.

Sources:

http://www.chicken.ca/on-the-farm/view/24/antibiotics

http://www.nytimes.com/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

https://www.princeton.edu/~greening/downloads/antibiotic_table_tent1.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-644-oregano.aspx?activeingredientid=644&

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00414.x/full

Image Sources:

http://discovermagazine.com/~/media/Images/Issues/2014/Oct/antibiotics.jpg

http://hollandfoodpartner.com/wp-content/uploads/iStock-chicks-eating.jpg

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