70% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to food animals, often just to promote growth and compensate for the effects of unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in production facilities.
This routine use of antibiotics in food animal production presents a serious danger to human health, because it helps create new strains of deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
With the increase of these types of dangerous bacteria, the antibiotics that we now depend on for fighting bacterial infections become increasingly useless, and children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to these types of infections. In addition, these antibiotic-resistant bacteria end up costing us an extra $16.6 billion to $26 billion each year in the U.S. health care system.
Last year, the U.S. FDA, the Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testified before Congress that there was a definitive link between routine, non-therapeutic uses of antibiotics on industrial farms and the crisis of antibiotic resistance in humans. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization all warn that this practice presents a serious and growing threat to human health.
What you can do about this practice of overuse of antibiotics in animal production:
Petition your representatives to support PAMTA, Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA, H.R. 965, S. 1211), which would withdraw the routine use of seven classes of antibiotics which are vitally important to human health from food animal production unless animals or herds are sick with disease or unless the drug companies which make them can prove that their use does not harm human health.