Antibiotic Use on Factory Farms Grows 23 Percent Despite Warnings

Despite warnings by public health experts, antibiotic misuse on factory farms continues to rise, placing lifesaving antibiotics in jeopardy.

Mother Jones explains:

The meat industry's massive appetite for antibiotics just keeps growing. That's the takeaway from the Food and Drug Administration's latest annual assessment of the issue, which found that agricultural use of "medically important" antibiotics—the ones that are prescribed to people when they fall ill—grew a startling 23 percent between 2009 and 2014.

In 2013, The Pew Charitable Trusts found that in the United States, 80 percent of all antibiotics used are administered to farmed animals. While these drugs are sometimes used to prevent and treat illness in farmed animals, they’re also used in low doses to make animals grow more quickly and to compensate for unhygienic conditions.

These low doses are non-lethal and allow bacteria to mutate and become resistant, making the threat of antibiotic-resistant infections greater than ever.

In fact, earlier this year, a study predicted that by 2050, about 10 million people will die each year as a result of such infections.

According to the World Health Organization, this is “a problem so serious it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.”

In short, factory farms are a threat to public health. As though that weren’t bad enough, they also subject billions of animals to cruelty few of us can even imagine.

It’s time to withdraw our support of an industry that places us all at risk. For delicious recipes, meal ideas, and more information about transitioning to plant-based foods, click here.