Limiting animal antibiotics

This article was originally published in February 2014

The Obama administration’s new policy to curb the systematic use of antibiotics in healthy farm animals is a step in the right direction and one that PCC members might take a little credit for. PCC has advocated limits on antibiotic use in seven campaigns since 2000, but our work is not done.

The new policy makes it illegal for ranchers to put antibiotics in food and water to make animals grow larger and plumper. Producers also will need to get a veterinarian prescription to use drugs to prevent disease in healthy livestock.

Critics say it’s a significant loophole to not prohibit the use of antibiotics to prevent disease. Ranchers may continue to use the same low doses of the same antibiotics by contending they’re needed to keep animals from getting sick.

Health officials say using drugs for non-therapeutic purposes in animals has fueled an epidemic of antibiotic resistance and endangered human health. Drugs currently being used in livestock include penicillin, azithromycin and tetracycline.

Also in this issue

News bites, February 2014

China rejects Washington shellfish, Big Island bans GE, Looser mad cow rules, and more

Salt: How much is too much?

Americans eat nearly twice the recommended amount of salt but several reports over the past few years have demonstrated the lack of solid science supporting low-sodium diets.

Letters to the editor, February 2014

Synthetic biology, Sustainable sardines?, Eating invasive species?, and more