Livestock producers are routinely giving antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster or help them survive crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions. Overusing these drugs—in humans or animals—breeds bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, threatening the future effectiveness of these medicines, and putting our health at risk. Every year, at least 2 million people get sick, and up to 162,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Given the stakes, we shouldn’t allow even one large-scale farming operation to overuse antibiotics in this way. And yet approximately 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are intended for use in livestock and poultry.
We have to stop the overuse of antibiotics, and protect our life-saving drugs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate how antibiotics should be used. But so far the proposed rules out of Washington have been far too weak when it comes to the agricultural uses of our life-saving medicines. And given the current administration’s push to reduce regulations, we’re not optimistic that new rules will be coming anytime soon. Given the stakes, we can’t afford to wait.
Victory for Public Health!
Students at UConn and Trinity college took part in a successful national effort calling on McDonald’s, Subway and KFC to stop serving meat raised on the routine use of antibiotics. Students collected photo petitions to send to the chain restaurants via social media. We organized local health professionals and farmers to hold an educational panel to discuss the the risks of overusing antibiotics on factory farms.
These were huge victories to protect public health, but now, other major chains need to take action.
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