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Survey Shows Antibiotic Use in Animals Declines

by 5m Editor
11 October 2004, at 12:00am

US - New data from a survey of animal health companies show that the volume of antibiotics used in animals in the U.S. dropped nearly 8 percent in 2003 compared to the previous year, evidence of increasingly careful use of these important products.

In 2003, 20.2 million pounds of antibiotics were produced for use in both farm and companion animals, a decline from 22 million pounds produced in 2002. Antibiotic production has declined steadily since 1999, when 24.4 million pounds were produced.

The data were collected from a survey of members of the Animal Health Institute (AHI), consisting of companies that make medicines for pets and farm animals. “Antibiotics, used carefully and judiciously to protect animal health, are an important component of our food safety system,“ said Alexander S. Mathews, AHI President and CEO. “In addition, they help extend the quality and length of life for our cats, dogs and other companion animals.

This annual data provides evidence of the careful use of these important products.“ Mathews also pointed out the increasing evidence of the safety and importance of using antibiotics to keep food animals healthy.

A recent peer-reviewed publication has concluded the risk of using antibiotics to keep animals healthy is very small. Moreover, there is some evidence that there can be a greater risk to human health associated with banning products.

In addition, published quantitative risk assessments show the risk of using these products to be very low. AHI survey respondents provide an assessment each year of the amount of veterinary antibiotics produced for therapeutic use and health maintenance purposes. The percentage of veterinary antibiotics produced reported as therapeutic was 83 percent in 2001, 91 percent in 2002 and rose to 92 percent in 2003.

Volume of Antibiotic Usage in Farm and Companion Animals 1999-2003

Total U.S. Meat Production

Source: Animal Health Institute - 6th October 2004

5m Editor