Note: My original response to Chris's comment wound up being too long to post as a reply, so I'm posting it as a separate entry here, starting with Chris's question.
I've actually worked on a farm raising chickens--just a couple hundred, nowhere near the numbers on an industrial farm, but with more or less the same deformed breed of chicken that large-scale farmers raise. The chickens stayed in a barn their whole lives surrounded by other chickens that were far too numerous and therefore anonymous for any bird to form a normal social relationship with. They were too heavy to take more than a few stumbling steps before faltering. They spent so much time sitting down that their breasts were actually bare from touching the ground so much. This did make it easier to pluck them later, I confess. The environment was stressful and utterly devoid of stimulus except when I or someone else went in to catch some birds to slaughter. But here's the thing--even when their lives were so shitty (and you know chickens are smart enough to know that that life was shitty), they still panicked when I took them, and they still struggled when I cut their throats. Did they really cherish their alienated lives sitting in poop inside a crowded dirty barn that much? The birds didn't want to die. So, if you were a chicken in a chicken factory, would you be grateful for the protection that the antibiotics in your feed afforded you from the potential of infection that arises from being forcibly crowded together in a shed in the first place? It's the same power forcing you into confinement and forcing you to eat incessantly and that will eventually kill you in a potentially painful and most certainly horrifying way that gives you the antibiotics. If you take the antibiotics willingly, you are enabling your crowding, because if all the chickens refused to take the antibiotics, the crowding would not be possible. If you are grateful for the benefit of their medicine, it really is a Stockholm Syndrome situation--essentially, it's like someone breaks your legs but you only feel gratitude that they gave you a wheelchair in the end. I'm in no way trivializing pain, yours or anyone else's; all I'm trying to convey is that our gratitude for the relief that modern medicine brings becomes a weapon, a point of leverage to use against us. It's also a mistake to believe that only modern medicine can bring us actual relief from pain--I'm pretty sure the case can easily be made that the opposite is true if you consider the role of technology in general in causing suffering and disease throughout history. To believe that only modern medicine can save us from infectious disease or back pain is akin to believing that only television can alleviate boredom or only the internet can remedy isolation. I'm pretty sure that these supposed solutions are really part of the cause of the problems they claim to solve. The problem is that the connection is not immediately obvious--it's not a causal relationship that most humans will naturally grasp, not because most humans are stupid, but because the chains of cause and effect generated by technology have transcended what might constitute a human-scale reality. As I wrote before, in a techno-scale reality, all our adaptations, evolved over millions of years, begin to constantly work against us, not for us. We begin to consistently make the wrong choices without it being immediately obvious. As humans, it still feels good and right to eat lots of sugar, use disposable paper plates, drive instead of walk when it's hot outside, etc. Even littering has an evolutionary rationale. So it should be expected that everyone loves the relief that modern medicine can provide. The system exploits our human desire to not feel pain or be ill, because the novel way in which the system provides relief is difficult for a human mind conditioned to a different way of life to grasp. To most people, it's very simple: take the medicine and feel better. It's hard to comprehend that the existence of industrial medicine has only ever worsened environmental degradation and negatively impacted health in the long run. We steal from the future every time we leverage economics through technology to meet our needs in ways that ensure that the maximum number of intermediaries (=inefficiencies, waste) are involved in order to generate profit at as many junctures as possible. When the next time we look we notice that our past actions have left us poorer in the present, we are ever more motivated to steal from the future, extolling promising new technologies, digging up resources that can never be replaced. The poorer you get, the more desperate to steal you become. So, every time we rely on the system to meet our needs, whether they be medical or otherwise, we charge to a credit card that we can never pay off. Somewhere we will have to stop doing this, the question is whether we stop on our own terms and take our time, or just keep going full throttle until reality stops us for us.