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Fight to Curtail Antibiotics in Animal Feed

by 5m Editor
28 January 2008, at 9:52am

US - Consumer advocates have been campaigning for years to curb the use of antibiotics in agriculture, citing studies that show that 70 percent of all U.S. antibiotics are administered in low doses - not to treat disease, but to promote the growth of pigs, sheep, chicken and cattle.

Low doses of antibiotics in animal feeds have been shown to boost the speed of food-to-muscle conversion by 5 percent, and can prevent the spread of disease in the tight quarters of modern factory farms.

But as early as 1963, British researchers tied the emergence of drug-resistant strains of salmonella in humans to antibiotics fed to cattle. Among the drugs routinely found in animal feed are erythromycin, penicillin and streptomycin. Critics warn that the use of antibiotics in feed at low dosages helps to breed resistant bacteria in the gut of farm animals - threatening the future of these drugs for use in animals or humans.

Major antibiotic classes such as tetracyclines and the Cipro-like fluoroquinolones have already been compromised, according to Keep Antibiotics Working, a coalition backed by environmental groups and the American Medical Association.

Source: SFgate

5m Editor