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Tag Archive | "antibiotics"

Report could be a wake-up call for antibiotic reform


HEA-Antibiotics-in-farming

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

A new report calls for banning or restricting the use of antibiotics in farm animals to curb the global spread of infections.

Cameron Harsh, senior manager for organic and animal policy with the Center for Food Safety, explains continuously dosing animals creates stronger strains of bacteria, which makes antibiotics less effective at fighting infections in people.

He says the report is a wake-up call for policymakers to reform common factory farming practices.

“Producers can crowd animals, have higher stocking densities, and they’re getting animals to grow faster on less feed,” he explains. “So, in the long run, these have been misused as a tool to raise more meat and poultry products faster and more cheaply.”

According to the report from the Britain based review on Antimicrobial Resistance, some 700,000 people die each year worldwide from antibiotic-resistant infections, and that number could rise to 10 million per year by 2050.

Industry groups say they’re using antibiotics to keep animals healthy, and maintain the practice is necessary to keep costs down.

Harsh notes making sure animals have good feed, can access the outdoors and have enough space to lie down helps boost their natural immune systems.

And he says an increasing number of people are willing to pay more for drug-free meat, dairy and eggs.

“And you’re seeing a lot of companies make strong statements about antibiotic use in their supplies, and make strong commitments to reduce use,” he adds. “But transparency is going to be an important step moving forward, so that consumers can make informed food decisions in the marketplace.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has introduced guidelines that would require farmers to get antibiotics from licensed veterinarians, instead of over the counter at the local feed store, and has asked drug makers to voluntarily remove growth promotion claims from labels.

Harsh says those moves don’t go far enough.

The report can be accessed at

http://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160518_Final%20paper_with%20cover.pdf

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