factory farm70 percent of all antibiotics produced in the U.S.  –  25 million pounds annually – are given to farm animals, not people. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are the main reasons. Farm animals given antibiotics also need less food to grow.

To help prevent the development of “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics, doctors commonly warn their patients that antibiotics should only be used for bacterial infections, and should be taken at the proper dosage for the full course of treatment.

 
 

Industrial farms violate these medical principles every day by feeding healthy animals low doses of antibiotics over long periods of time in order to speed up their growth and to compensate for unsanitary living conditions. This creates the ideal breeding ground for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive and spread.

The misuse of antibiotics on industrial farms threatens the health of farm workers, communities and the public. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical groups agree that the growth of bacterial infections resistant to antibiotic treatment is a looming public health challenge. The groups also agree the misuse of antibiotics on industrial animal farms plays a significant role in this crisis.  While antibiotics are prescribed to people for short-term disease treatment, these same critically important drugs—like tetracycline, erythromycin and ciproflaxin—are fed in low doses to large herds or flocks daily, often for the lifespan of the animal. This creates ideal conditions for the breeding of new and dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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