Antibiotics in Animals

The lines are blurred when it comes to knowing exactly where it is your food came from and – if not more importantly – what it is you are ingesting. Recently, food conglomerates such as McDonald’s have made the decision to stop serving chicken raised on antibiotics intended for human-use. This is a huge change to American fast-food chains that will hopefully catch on amongst other food restaurants and influence modern day farming practices.
Feeding animals antibiotics intended to help fight human infections is the problem at hand. The reason behind this trend that has been going on for decades now is simple: big money.  When animals are routinely fed these medications, they grow at a faster rate on smaller amounts of food. The bigger the livestock, the more money the producers will rake in.
This led to low levels of antibiotics being added to the food and water that animals consume on a daily basis. Antibiotics have always been used in farm animals, but were originally used to treat infections and prevent the spread of diseases.
The problem comes about when the bacteria develops an immunity to the antibiotics a result of consuming so much of the antibiotic. “Super bugs,” which are becoming resistant to antibiotics, are becoming more prevalent amongst humans and animals. According the the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over two million people in the United States fall victim to drug-resistant infections per year. The death rate is 23,000.
Last September, a report to the White House stated, “The evolution of antibiotic resistance is now occurring at an alarming rate and is outpacing the development of new countermeasures capable of thwarting infections in humans. This situation threatens patient care, economic growth, public health, agriculture, economic security and national security.” The list of all the negative effects that feeding human antibiotics to animals seem never-ending.
McDonald’s has now stopped using chickens that have been fed antibiotics to promote growth along with other food chains such as Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and Panera. In addition to their chicken suppliers McDonald’s will also stop selling milk that has come from cows that were fed artificial growth hormones. Chicken conglomerate Perdue is no longer feeding these types of medications to their livestock, and Tyson Foods and Costco Wholesale are following in Perdue’s footsteps. Farmers will continue using antibiotics solely for animals to prevent infections and diseases known as ionophores. Back in 2013, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology came up with three focal areas to bring the antibiotic-resistance crisis under control. These areas were to improve surveillance of the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, increase longevity of current antibiotics and increase the rate that new antibiotics are discovered and developed.
Hopefully more and more corporations and farmers will catch on and put an end to feeding harmful antibiotics to livestock for the purpose of growth and financial gains.

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