Defying FDA Warning, Animal Farmers Ratchet Up Antibiotic Use

fda-antibiotics-320.jpgThe Pew Charitable Trust has crunched the FDA's latest numbers relating to antibiotic use on livestock farms. And the results are not pretty. Though the FDA has nudged the meat industry to reduce its antibiotic usage, implementing a policy of any sort has proved problematic.

The catastrophic consequence is that 80 percent of all antibiotics currently used in the United States are given to farmed animals. At a total of 29.9 million pounds of drugs, this is the greatest amount ever documented. Rather than scaling back, the meat industry is becoming more antibiotic-intensive.

The practice of cramming animals together on factory farms while pumping them full of antibiotics creates a veritable breeding ground for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The FDA's numbers on such superbugs are a clear cause for alarm: Over 78 percent of salmonella found in turkey is resistant to at least one antibiotic, as is 75 percent of salmonella in chicken. Additionally, campylobacter in retail chicken is increasingly resistant to tetracycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat human illnesses. A staggering 95 percent of retail chicken is contaminated with campylobacter.

The best way to ensure the meat industry's recipe for disaster doesn't lead to a national health crisis is to switch to a delicious vegan diet. For more information and amazing plant-based meal ideas, visit