Prescriptions to Be Required for Use of Antibiotics on Livestock - FamilyEducation

Prescriptions to Be Required for Use of Antibiotics on Livestock

April 12,2012
Lindsay Hutton

For over 35 years, antibiotics have been used on livestock by ranchers and farmers. Low doses of these drugs over a long period of time help the animals grow larger.

Bigger= more meat= good for everyone, right?

Not quite.

Using small amounts of antibiotics over long periods creates strains of bacteria that are resistant to the drugs’ effects. Humans who become infected with these strains cannot be treated with routine antibiotic therapy.

Tens of thousands of people die each year from antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. While it's unclear how many of these strains come from animals, it's worth noting that 80% of the antibiotics in the U.S are used on animals.

On Wednesday, the FDA annouced a new rule stating that from now on, farmers and ranchers will need a prescription from a veterinarian before being able to use any antibiotics on their livestock. Just using the drugs to promote growth will be disallowed, so the animals would either need to be sick or at risk of a specific illness in order to get a prescription.

Since veterinarians are only allowed to give a prescription for antibiotics in feed and water only if such uses are approved by the F.D.A, it's believed that indiscriminate drug use will unlikely be endorsed. It's hoped that this ruling will help save thousands of lives.

Did you know that farmer's used antibiotics to promote growth in their livestock? Do you worry that your family will get sick from eating meat treatedwith antibiotics? Is there any natural meat out there anymore?

Weigh in!