80% of U.S. Antibiotics Go to Farm Animals

Friday, March 04, 2011
Approximately 80% of antibiotics sold in the United States each year are used on farm animals, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that has food and health advocates alarmed. The FDA estimates that 29 million pounds of antibiotics a year are given to U.S. livestock.
 
The FDA released the information at the request of U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-New York), who plans to reintroduce legislation that would limit the drugging of animals in order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in humans.
 
“Today I confirmed an alarming number that should shock all of us: 4 out of 5 antibiotics sold in this country were for use on animals, many of whom are not even sick, and that is dangerous to all of us,” said Slaughter.
 
As journalist Maryn McKenna, author of Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA, explains: “The reason why antibiotic use on farms is a concern, of course, is because such use stimulates the emergence of drug-resistant organisms that move off the farm in animals, in groundwater, in dust, on the wind and in the systems and on the clothes of those who work there, and makes new resistance factors available to be swapped among bacteria.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Most U.S. Antibiotics Go to Animal Agriculture (by Helena Bottemiller, Food Safety News)

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