Essay on E. Coli And The Human Digestive System

1230 Words May 1st, 2016 null Page
Health
E. coli
There are many strains of E. coli. Most strains are considered harmless. In fact, E. coli plays a necessary role in the human digestive system. The danger of E. coli comes from the specific strain known as STEC, or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. STEC lives in the guts of animals, such as cattle, goats, sheep, deer, and elk (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). When this strain of E. coli enters the intestine of human, symptoms such as diarrhea occur (Hedge, 2016).

STEC has not always been an issue. The feeding of grain-based feed to dairy and beef cattle, in an attempt to fatten them up quicker at a lower cost, has caused this strain to develop (Cummins, 2006). Cattle’s natural food is grass and roughage. A cow’s stomach is naturally designed to break down this type of food. When grain is introduced, the acidity of a cow’s stomach changes allowing for the production of this specific strain of E. coli. This would not be the case if we did not force cows to eat food not designed for them to eat (Pulhar, 2010).

In industrial farming, animals, such as cattle, are forced into compacted spaces for extended periods of time. These animals feed from massive feedlots. These feedlots produce large quantities of tainted manure. This manure is then used for other agricultural purposes, such as fertilizer for crops.

Until 2009, cattle who were found to be infected with STEC were allowed to be slaughtered and fed to other cattle (Pulhar, 2010). Because of…

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