This bibliography lists the latest published scientific and economic literature concerning the contribution of routine antibiotic use in food animals to the growing public health crisis of human antibiotic resistance. Research on how antibiotic use in food animal production contributes to the growing health crisis of antibiotic resistance dates back more than 30 years.More info
In his attempt to clarify the issue of antibiotic use in meat and poultry production ("Antibiotics and Animals Raised for Food: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics,"), Dr. Richard Raymond confuses matters.
Most importantly, Dr. Raymond mischaracterizes the value of tetracyclines and the dangers of their overuse. The World Health Organization ranks their importance on par with macrolides (such as the “Z-Pak” antibiotic Azithromycin), fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins, which Dr. Raymond acknowledges are worth protecting. (By the way, in 2009, five times more macrolides were sold for food animal production than for treating sick people.) Yet even if doctors stop prescribing tetracycline, its widespread use on industrial farms will still pose a serious threat to our health. Bacteria often develop resistance to other classes of drugs as a direct result of their exposure to tetracyclines.
Dr. Raymond also asserts that to compare human and animal antibiotic sales more appropriately, one must exclude drugs that are not prescribed for people and, therefore, are not medically important. This changes little, however. After subtracting animal-only antibiotics from this comparison, about 70 percent of medically important antibiotics are still sold for use on industrial farms.
As to Denmark’s antibiotics policies, they have been successful. Overall antibiotic use on industrial farms is down, the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria in animals and on meat is also down, production is up, and prices are stable.
We agree with Dr. Raymond that resistance is driven by human antibiotic use, but not exclusively. Overuse of these drugs anywhere is a threat to health everywhere, so this fight requires a 360-degree strategy that tackles antibiotic overuse in hospitals and on farms, infection control and the development of new drugs. That is why The Pew Charitable Trusts has multiple efforts underway to protect the public from resistant infections. Pew’s Antibiotics and Innovation Project is working to stimulate the development of new drugs to fight emerging superbugs. The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming is aimed squarely at preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics by curbing their overuse in food animal production. We oppose the use of antibiotics for growth promotion but strongly support their use to treat sick animals and to control the spread of infection in flocks or herds where disease is present. If illnesses are routinely occurring from birth through slaughter, however, then that suggests there are serious, systemic issues better solved by cleaner conditions and modified husbandry practices—not by using antibiotics as a crutch.
It is worth noting that the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and several Nobel laureates, among many others, recognize that medically important antibiotics are being overused and misused on industrial farms at the expense of human health and that it is in the public’s interest to rein in these practices and preserve the effectiveness of these life-saving resources.
- Date added:
- Jan 11, 2013
- Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming
- Antibiotics in Food Animal Production
- Related Expert:
- Gail Hansen
Pew Charitable Trusts today applauded Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME), for introducing the Antimicrobial Data Collection Act, which would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to report more information on the annual sales of antibiotics used among industrial farm animals. The bipartisan bill would also give the agency a deadline to finalize policies proposed last year to eliminate the use of antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in meat production.More info
"As a nation, we need to exercise greater care with our use of antibiotics, in both humans and animals, so that these medications remain effective in treating serious bacterial infections."More info
SuperChefs Against Superbugs, an initiative of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, is a movement of chefs who want to stop the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production. On April 23, the following seven chefs visited Capitol Hill to explain why they serve meat and poultry raised without antibiotics.More info
It used to be easy to treat healthy children with common bacterial infections; a regimen of antibiotic pills could usually wipe out the disease. Today, patients might need to go home on intravenous antibiotics because oral therapies will no longer work. Antibiotic resistance is to blame.More info
A past bout of salmonella led Maine resident Danielle Wadsworth to travel to Washington, D.C. this week to argue for stronger regulations to curtail the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. She took part Wednesday in "Supermoms Against Superbugs," an initiative of the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming.More info
Dr. Cecilia Di Pentima is in Washington, D.C., for “Supermoms against Superbugs” to push for laws to curtail the use of antibiotics in livestock farming — one of many fronts in the battle to preserve the effectiveness of the medicines. Family physicians in the South, including Tennessee, have also been identified as inadvertent purveyors of drug-resistant bacteria by prescribing too many antibiotics.More info
Each year, tens of thousands of Americans die and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized because of bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic overuse on industrial farms is a big part of the problem. The largest U.S. meat and poultry producers feed antibiotics to healthy animals over much of their lives to make them grow faster and to compensate for the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in which they are bred and slaughtered.More info
On behalf of the undersigned organizations representing medical, public health, scientific, agricultural, environmental, animal protection, and other organizations, we urge you to include H.R. 820, the Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals (DATA) Act, as part of the final Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). This legislation provides a reasonable, common-sense approach to better understanding antibiotic use in agriculture.More info
We have an amazing roster of more than fifty moms, dads, and other caregivers ready to take Washington by storm. Hailing from 25 states, each supermom and superdad has a unique story to tell about why we need to stop overusing antibiotics on industrial farms, including moms who almost lost children to antibiotic-resistant infections and pediatricians who fight superbugs every day.More info
"For decades, the meat industry has denied any problem with its reliance on routine, everyday antibiotic use for the nation's chickens, cows, and pigs. But it's a bit like a drunk denying an alcohol problem while leaning on a barstool for support. Antibiotic use on livestock farms has surged in recent years — from 20 million pounds annually in 2003 to nearly 30 million pounds in 2011."More info