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FDA Warns Against Antibiotics in Livestock

Pig Face

The Food and Drug Administration recently expressed concerns related to the overuse of antibiotics in raising animals for food.

FDA raised concerns about the rise in drug-resistant pathogens, and they’re pointing to industrial agriculture as a major culprit. The problem is that it’s an industry practice not to just use these antibiotics to treat sick animals but to make animals gain weight more quickly.

In order to curb the practice, they’ve released a couple of guidelines. According to their Q&A on the topic, they recommend antibiotics for livestock only when:

the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs is necessary for assuring animal health; and the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs includes veterinary oversight or consultation.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Only administer these powerful drugs when necessary, and always do so under a vet’s guidance.

Of course, lobbyists for big agriculture are against the proposed FDA rule.

Part of the reason that antibiotic use is so prevalent is that factory farming conditions breed disease in these animals. If you want to make an even bigger difference, you can speak out against factory farming.

For you folks that aren’t eating meat or eat only meat raised without these high doses of antibiotics, high five! You’re already making a difference by voting with your wallets.

The guidance is only a draft right now, which means FDA is still taking comments on it. If you want to submit a comment, you can do that on the Regulations website.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by alyssssyla

[h/t WebMD]


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Becky Striepe is a green blogger and independent crafter with a passion for vintage fabrics. She runs a crafty business, Glue and Glitter, where her mission is to use existing materials in products that help folks reduce their impact without sacrificing style! She specializes in aprons and custom tote bags.

4 comments
  1. marilyn

    I used to work for the company that makes a lot of these antibiotics, Merial, who also makes Heartgard and Frontline for dogs and cats. The craziest thing to me is that no one knows why regular non-medically necessary doses of antibiotics make animals gain weight, but it's standard practice nonetheless.

    Also crazy was putting up a tech report on their website about some medicine for cows that had a little PS, "This medicine was also tested on 6 pigs. All pigs died. This medicine is not recommended for pigs."

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