Livestock antibiotics
Human antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline are now commonly added to the feed used in pork, poultry and cattle feedlot operations. Antibiotics stimulate animal growth and improve their rate of survival from infections often received from living in confined and unsanitary conditions. The possibility of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in livestock transferring to humans through the consumption and handling of meat is supported by science. Chicken sampled from our supermarkets has been found to be contaminated with bacteria that are resistant to several types of human antibiotics. Advocates estimate that 70% of all antibiotics dispensed in the U.S. are now used in feedlot operations, often to speed the growth of herds and flocks. Recent government studies have found that at least 2 million Americans are treated each year for infections that no longer respond to antibiotics because of overuse in animals and people. This resistance is responsible for taking the lives of at least 23,000 people each year. Supporters of livestock antibiotics say these drugs help protect the health of farm animals and are necessary to ensure there is enough meat to feed the planet. They claim there could be a worldwide protein shortage if their industry discontinues the use of these drugs. Opponents say the confinement of many animals into crowded cages, rooms and pens cause injuries that can only be controlled with massive amounts of antibiotics. They claim that without the use of these antibiotics, industrial feedlots would not be profitable to operate in their present form. Instead, they would be forced to provide their animals with more space and allow them to grow naturally. Several years ago, the FDA requested the meat processing industry to voluntarily stop using antibiotics to speed animal growth, and to first obtain a prescription from a veterinarian if producers need to give these drugs to a sick animal. The industry has yet to comply with this request.

Pending Litigation:
S.621 - Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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