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Government Moves Against Using Antibiotics in Animal Feed

April 16, 2012
Plain English Version

Almost 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are given to livestock to make them grow larger. Almost all such antibiotics are delivered through feed and water.

The biggest danger in giving antibiotics to animals is that even small amounts of meat-based antibiotics can result in the creation of bacteria in humans. The presence of bacteria makes people more resistant to routine antibiotics.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new rule that will make farmers and ranchers need a prescription before giving antibiotics to their livestock. Producers will now have to convince a veterinarian their animals are sick.

Farmers get the antibiotics to their livestock through their feed and water. Only three percent are injections.

Advocacy groups for health support the FDA’s actions. Some want more severe restrictions.

The FDA is asking drug makers to change their labels to require a prescription. Last month a federal judge ordered the FDA to begin activities to ban the use of penicillin and tetracycline in animals unless they were medically necessary. He said they were dangerous to human health.

The New York Times


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