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
Avoiding Antibiotic Resistance
Denmark's Ban on Growth Promoting Antibiotics in Food Animals
Antibiotics are the crown jewels of medicine. These life-saving drugs are vital to human health—treating everything from strep throat to skin infections to bacterial pneumonia. Yet, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, up to 70 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to food animals on industrial farms not to treat sick animals but to promote growth and prevent diseases in often unsanitary, overcrowded conditions.
Bacteria exposed to antibiotics at low doses for prolonged periods can develop antibiotic resistance — a dangerous trait enabling bacteria to survive and grow instead of being inhibited or destroyed by therapeutic doses of a drug. Since many classes of antibiotics used in food animals also are important in human medicine, resistance that begins on the farm can lead to a serious public health problem.
Recognizing the potential for a health crisis, Denmark began restricting the administration of antibiotics used for growth promotion (i.e., non-medical uses) in cattle, broiler chickens and swine in 1998. All uses of antibiotics in food animals must be accompanied by a prescription in a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and veterinarians cannot profit from the sale of antibiotics. In addition, farmers, veterinarians and pharmacies must report the use and sale of antibiotics, and farm inspections are conducted regularly.
Although the U.S. food animal production and animal drug industries often have claimed that the Danish ban was costly and ineffective, the World Health Organization found that the ban reduced human health risk without significantly harming animal health or farmers' incomes. In fact, Danish government and industry data show that livestock and poultry production has increased since the ban, while antibiotic resistance has declined on farms and in meat.
Find out more about Denmark's ban on growth promoting antibiotics in food animals:
- Comprehensive factsheet on Denmark's ban (PDF)
- What Can Danish Hogs Teach Us About Antibiotics? - The Huffington Post, Laura Rogers - Campaign Director
- Letter from Danish Chief Veterinarian to Congress (PDF)
- Letter from Danish Technical University Professor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi correcting "creative" interpretations of Denmark's antibiotic ban (PDF)
- Major reports and journal articles on Denmark banning the use of antibiotics as growth promoters (PDF)
- Charts displaying Denmark's decline in antibiotic resistance and the increase of livestock and poultry production (PDF)
- Presentations from a Capitol Hill briefing - Reducing Antibiotic Resistance: Lessons Learned in Denmark (PDF)
- Date added:
- May 7, 2010
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