A potential risk is that antibiotics used to treat sick people – who are often suffering from bacterial infections they got from eating and handling poultry and egg products – are increasingly ineffective as bacteria become ever more resistant to antibiotics. And while antibiotics are designed to treat bacterial infections, too many antibiotics can weaken the human immune system as well as the immune systems of the birds, increasing a person's susceptibility to food poisoning and other illnesses and increasing the inability of overstressed birds to handle the pathogenic load.
Inside of a Chicken Factory Farm
Living on the Eastern Shore of the United States, boasted by poultry agribusiness as the "birthplace of the broiler industry" in the 1920s, I've been inside many chicken houses of which there are thousands in this rural region of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, known as the Delmarva Peninsula, where at any given time a half a billion chickens are locked in squalor.
Unlatch the door of the typical 500-foot-long chicken house, and a blanket of sepia-white baby birds not making a peep stare at you through the dark haze of nauseating toxic gases and floating debris of feathers, skin particles, and pathogens. Though just a few weeks old, most chickens bred for the meat industry are too painfully lame to stand up normally, let alone walk, due to their forced rapid growth rate and heavy bodies that feel when you pick one up like a sad sack of wet cement. With the added stress of no natural sunlight or exercise, their joints are too soft to carry their weight. Falsely marketed as "healthy," these birds are imprisoned in alien, diseased and dysfunctional bodies in total confinement buildings within a global system of confinement and abuse for which the word hellish seems inadequate.