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Concerns expressed about giving antibiotics to livestock

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Some are advising against using antibiotics on healthy livestock.
Some are advising against using antibiotics on healthy livestock.

Those who use farm equipment may also be in the habit of giving their livestock antibiotics, which are said to help the animals grow and keep them from getting sick.

However, a recent story from the Associated Press notes that there has been some backlash against the practice, which critics say could lead to drug-resistant strains of diseases, which could attack humans.

"This is a living breathing problem, it's the big bad wolf and it's knocking at our door," Dr. Vance Fowler, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University, told the AP.

Now, some members of the federal legislature are calling on limiting the practice to only animals that are sick. However, some lawmakers are trying to fight against these measures. Other groups, such as farm and drug lobbies, are also presenting resistance.

According to the AP, 70 percent of the 35 million pounds of antibiotics used in the U.S. were given to farm animals, including cows, chickens and pigs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a program that encourages the appropriate use of antibiotics on farm animals. The program, called Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work on the Farm, was started in 2004 and follows guidelines set forward by the World Health Organization.
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