FDA discourages farm use of antibiotics
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
WASHINGTON D.C.––The U.S. Food & Drug Administration on
December 11, 2013 announced that the drug makers Zoetis and Elanco,
which produce the majority of antibiotics used to promote livestock
growth, have agreed to participate in a voluntary phase-out of
non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.
Routine antibiotic doses promote faster growth by suppressing
infections that often result from housing large numbers of animals in
close proximity under unsanitary conditions.
“This is the agency’s first serious attempt in decades to
curb what experts have long regarded as the systematic overuse of
antibiotics in healthy farm animals, with the drugs typically added
directly into their feed and water,” assessed Sabrina Tavernese of
The New York Times. “The waning effectiveness of antibiotics has
become a looming threat to public health. At least two million
Americans fall sick every year and about 23,000 die from
antibiotic-resistant infections,” according to data published in
September 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The FDA has asked antibiotic manufacturers to require that
antibiotics be sold only to customers who present a veterinary
New York Congressional Representative Louise M. Slaughter, who
has long sought to regulate farm use of antibiotics, warned that the
prescription procedure can easily be abused. Slaughter reminded media
that antibiotic use by European Union agribusiness declined only after
nations led by the Netherlands introduced limits on total antibiotic
use, enforced by fines for noncompliance.