Antibiotics in Animal Feed Pose an Urgent Threat

US - The Pew Environment Group has spoken out against the use of antibiotics in animal feed, calling the decision a key public health priority.
calendar icon 18 July 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Karen Steuer, director of government operations for the Pew Environment Group, has criticised the current agricultural methods, saying that the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has long been a contributing factor in the rise of antibiotic-resistant disease.

"The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production recently joined the World Health Organization, the National Academies of Science, and the Centers for Disease Control in pointing out how this practice squanders the effectiveness of life-saving medicines," she said.

According to her, antibiotics are regularly added to the feed of chickens, hogs and beef cattle to increase animal growth rates even though numerous studies have connected this practice to antibiotic-resistant E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.

"The House Energy & Commerce Committee has started addressing an emerging public health threat that costs our already overtaxed health care system millions of dollars annually.

"Including improved reporting standards in the Animal Drug User Fee Act to address antibiotic resistance will help us understand the breadth of the problem," she added, "This is a good first step but more needs to be done. Removing antibiotics from animal feed is an urgent public health priority."

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization headquartered in the United States that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.

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