Editorial Stresses Dangers of Giving Livestock Too Many Antibiotics

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Consumer Reports wants to direct our attention to a report warning of the danger that presents itself when animals are given too many antibiotics.

An editorial going by the title “Pig Out” and featured in a journal known as Nature stresses the need for farmers to abstain from giving their livestock large amounts of non-veterinary antibiotics, a practice typically carried out not to prevent infections, but rather to promote quick growth within the animals.  Unfortunately, according to the editorial, doing so could cause various types of bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotics.  This in turn presents a danger to humans, since we end up eating the animals and those resistant bacteria can pass to us.

Numerous parties have called on the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating the overuse of antibiotics, and the organization recently took tentative steps toward doing just that.  Right now, the meat and poultry industries are responsible for buying up around 80% of antibiotics on the market.  Some people have gone so far as to call the continued rampant distribution of antibiotics to livestock a public health crisis.

Consumer Reports, for their part, says that consumers worried about this troubling trend can find food from the supermarket that does not contain antibiotics.  However, they also stress that a lack of clarity on product labels makes it difficult to to discern the true nature of many such items.