Goodbye, Subway

It’s a sad week. Goodbye, 6-inch black forest ham on Monterey cheddar toasted with American cheese, lettuce, spinach, a little Ranch, a little mayo, and Parmesan cheese. That was my go-to order at Subway, a restaurant that I will sadly no longer be supporting with my money.


If you haven’t heard, on October 20, Subway announced, “that it has elevated its current antibiotic-free policy.” They went on to explain that they are transitioning to serving only protein from animals that have never received antibiotics.

There are a few things that bother me about this.

  1. All meat we consume is antibiotic free because animals that have been treated for an illness have to go through a withdrawal period before they can be taken to market.
  2. I wish Subway had talked to farmers to understand this before making their announcement.
  3. After making their announcement, Subway was deleting comments from farmers that were trying to explain #1.
  4. I don’t think I want to eat the meat of animals that didn’t get treated when they were sick. As this blogger points out, it seems like the next best option is to just put the animal out of its misery if they can’t be treated, which certainly doesn’t seem very humane to me.

Speaking of treating animals humanely, in my ag communications class, we read an excerpt about animal equality written by Peter Singer.

It seems to me that if you want animal equality, animals should have access to antibiotic just like people do. And they shouldn’t have to lose their purpose in life because of that.

Singer opens his essay with this statement: “For most people in modern, urbanized societies, the principal form of contact with nonhuman animals is at meal times.”

As strange as it is to think about, this statement has a lot of truth to it. Besides the family dog, most of society doesn’t come into contact with animals on a daily basis. With less than 2% of the population active in agriculture, you can’t expect many people to be around animals, especially not livestock, except for when they are in the form of a chicken, bacon, ranch sub.

Singer believes in the principle of equal consideration of moral interests and defines it as a moral principle stating that you should weigh the comparable moral interests of all creatures who will be affected by your actions. He says, “if an animal feels pain, the pain matters as much as it does when a human feels pain – if the pains hurt just as much. How bad pain and suffering are, does not depend on the species of being that experiences it.”


Well if this is true, it seems to me that sick animals should have access to antibiotics just like people do. And they shouldn’t have to lose their purpose in life (in this case being raised for human consumption) because of that.

In his essay, Singer talks about how inhumanely animals are treated when being raised for consumption on a “factory farm.” He doesn’t seem to realize that 97% of farms are family owned. He doesn’t seem to understand that farmers don’t want to treat their animals inhumanely because happy, healthy animals will be more productive and valuable anyway.

I wish that Singer and Subway would both visit a farm. I wish they would talk to farmers and ask the experts why they do what they do. Farm visits can lead to comments like this one from one of Illinois Farm Families’ City Moms, Amy Hansmann. “I learned that treating an animal humanely doesn’t mean treating it like a human.”


Photo Credit: Erin Ehnle Brown

I will still enjoy my chicken, bacon, Ranch and black forest ham sandwiches, just not from Subway.


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