Magazine article E Magazine

Livestok on Drugs

Magazine article E Magazine

Livestok on Drugs

Article excerpt

30.6 million. That's how many pounds of antibiotics were administered to livestock in the U.S. in 2010, according to an annual report released by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimate that the amount of antibiotics used every year by North Carolina hog farms alone exceeds the total used to treat all human infections in the United States. Ranchers are able to buy antibiotics over the counter at farm supply stores to keep their animals growing and healthy despite confined and often unsanitary living conditions.

"Nearly 80% of antibiotics used in the U.S. go to agriculture, and most of these drugs treat healthy animals," Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) wrote in a recent editorial. "We don't sprinkle antibiotics on children's cereal every morning to prevent illness. Why allow industrial farms to do the equivalent with animal feed?"

Slaughter is at the forefront of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which seeks to ban the preventative use of human antibiotics in animals raised for food. The bill has been endorsed by over 300 organizations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

"Government officials are playing with fire by not banning non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics that are used in human medicine," says CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson. …

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