Protecting Human Health by Limiting Livestock Antibiotics
The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms contributes to one of the largest threats to human health: antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The Physicians Committee is urging Congress to protect human health by limiting the use of antibiotics for livestock.
The Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2013 (S. 1256) and the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 1150) will ensure that antibiotics are used only to treat clinically diagnosable illnesses in humans and animals, not to boost corporate profits at the expense of public health.
Livestock producers routinely administer antibiotics in feed and water to speed growth and maximize their profits. This reckless, profit-driven practice generates antibiotic-resistant bacteria which are largely untreatable and very dangerous to humans. The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences estimates that the annual cost of treating antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States is $30 billion.
These costs are a direct result of the livestock industry’s abuse of the very same antibiotics used to treat human illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million Americans contract antibiotic-resistant infections annually and, of those, 90,000 die. MRSA, one particularly deadly superbug often found in factory-farmed animals and in workers, now kills more people every year than AIDS.
Learn more about antibiotic resistance from animal agriculture by reading our full report:
I. Antibiotic Use on Farms
II. Resistant Pathogens in the Food Supply
III. Bacteria Acquire Antimicrobial Resistance
IV. Resistant Bacteria in Medical Care
V. U.S. Regulation of Antimicrobials in Agriculture