Cows, chickens, and pigs in America are on lots of drugs — and even account for 80 percent of the country’s antibiotic consumption, Time reports.
But now, Food and Drug Administration officials have called on the ag industry to limit antibiotic use in livestock, as they think it might lead to the growth of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria: On January 4, the FDA banned farmers from using a class of these medicines in excess or for preventative reasons.
This particular group of antibiotics, cephalosporins, gets used frequently in humans to treat strep throat and bronchitis, Time notes.
The livestock industry commonly doses animals with antibiotics before they get sick, though they are not intended to prevent disease.
About 100,000 Americans die each year from infections related to drug-resistant bacteria, Time reports, and many fear that the situation will only worsen if animals routinely ingest antibiotics in their food and water.
This is not the first time the FDA has moved to enact such a rule.
In 2008, the administration tried establishing a similar regulation, but got too much flack from the über-wealthy ag lobby.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 5, 2012