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Concluding that pesticides may have a large-scale negative effect on amphibian health, they stated, “Terrestrial pesticide exposure might be underestimated as a driver of their decline.” The researchers called for more attention to this issue in conservation efforts, and pointed out that risk assessment procedures in place do not protect this vanishing animal group. Six: Avoid antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report detailing the threats of antibiotic-resistant diseases on the public. and antibiotic resistance has been linked to this use of antibiotics in conventional animal rearing. Many people are infected with antibiotic strains of bacteria each year, which can be especially dangerous to children. Studies have also found that because organic management does not use antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are less prevalent in organically produced milk, eggs, and meat than conventionally produced products. Several studies this year have supported the claim that conventional livestock operations are more risky when it comes to antibio tic resistance. For example, one study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found antibiotic-resistant bacteria associated with industrial livestock workers, but not antibiotic-free livestock workers. ty members have been concerned by this because, without bees, many important crops would disappear, such as apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, and oranges. Some of the awareness campaigns addressing honey bee loss have been especially poignant, such as the pictures of a Whole Foods Market in Rhode Island that pulled all bee-dependent fruit and vegetables off its shelves for a day, revealing a near-empty produce department. One of the most recent studies examining honey bee population declines showed that a combination of insecticides and fungicides can have a negative impact on bees’ immune systems, resulting in decreased ability to resist infection by the parasite Nosema ceranae implicated in colony collapse disorder. Researchers found that the pollen bees collect to feed to their larvae contained an average of nine The U.S. Food and Drug Adminis- different pesticide contaminants, and tration has responded to these con- made bees three times as likely to be cerns by announcing its commit- infected by the parasites. ment to phasing out the agricultural use of antibiotics, but currently one of the only ways to ensure your animal products are antibiotic free is by choosing organic! Another study, published in the journal PNAS, showed that intensive land use can reduce the biodiversity of soil organisms and can have a negative impact on nitrogen and carbon cycling. Finally, researchers at Kansas State University published a study showing that the use of conventional fertilizers can decrease soil macro aggregate stability, which is a key indicator of soil structural quality because it affects how resistant soil is to erosion and how well water is able to move through the soil. • One of the factors contributing to antibiotic resistance is the broad application of low doses of antibiotics Seven: Bee friendly. in rearing animals. Unfortunately, 2013 saw a continued About 80 percent of all antibiotics trend of bee population decline. Many sold are used in livestock facilities, gardeners, farmers, and communi-