Federal Antibiotic Regulations Aren’t Cutting It

Alex Krefetz
October 14, 2014
Environmental Working Group
The staggering amount of antibiotics used in raising industrial livestock continues to rise, according to a recent (Oct. 2) Food and Drug Administration report. And most (70 percent) of those drugs are considered “medically important” for humans.
The report documented a 16 percent increase in antibiotic use in food animals from 2009 to 2012. This is bad news in the global fight against antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organization calls “a major threat to public health.”
The report completely refutes the industry talking point that “antibiotic use in livestock production has been relatively steady over time.”
Until 2016, when a voluntary phase-out is supposed to be complete, U.S. farmers are free to continue feeding antibiotics to herds and flocks when animals aren’t sick in order to promote faster weight gain. The dangers of this overuse reach far beyond the farm, because it unnecessarily speeds up the evolution of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing microbes – undercutting the drugs’ efficacy for treating sick people when they need them most.

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