Antibiotic Resistance Project


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Antibiotic Use in Food Animals

Efforts to Curb the Administration of These Drugs in Animal Agriculture Can Help Preserve Their Effectiveness

The more that antibiotics are used, the less effective they become. This includes the use of antibiotics in food animals, which helps drive the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.1

Antibiotic sales for food animal production are significant and increasing: They account for 70 percent of total medically important antibiotic sales by volume—a 23 percent rise since 2009. However, the available data are limited and do not detail how and why these drugs are used in agricultural settings or the implications of that use.

To help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, Pew is working to ensure that these drugs are used in food animals only when medically necessary to prevent or treat a specific disease.


  1. World Health Organization, “Drug Resistance,” accessed Jan. 19, 2016,

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