Antibiotics Benefit Farm Animals (And People), But At What Cost?

Publication: USA Today

Author: Patty Khuly


03/11/2010 - Should we just say "no" to antibiotics for farm animals?

Your veterinarian hands you a bottle of antibiotics after treating your cat's abscess. "Finish them all," he urges. If you fail to comply, you'll be contributing to the development of antibiotic resistance. In which case it won't be your cat's health alone that suffers, but potentially yours, too. All this because of a biological process in which bacteria mutate, deftly avoiding the mechanism by which antibiotics would see them exterminated.

Antibiotic resistance is an emerging threat that has accelerated in recent decades. The rise of the so-called "superbug" (think MRSA) has struck fear in the heart of anyone who would overprescribe, misuse or otherwise abuse antimicrobial drugs.

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Much like climate change's plodding progress toward more widespread acceptance, the science underlying modern industrial animal agriculture's antimicrobial utilization methods has been increasingly questioned over the past few decades. Nonetheless, the findings have only recently gained purchase at the political level.

In large part, that's thanks to the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming. Consider the following points for a taste of its findings.

Read the full article Antibiotics Benefit Farm Animals (And People), But At What Cost? on USA Today's Web site.

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