Meat and Antibiotics: Getting Our Animals Off Drugs

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Over at the Ecocentric blog, I wrote about a new policy direction from the Food and Drug Administration on the use of antibiotics in meat production. Antibiotics—often used for growth promotion and given in the feed of animals—are a major part of America’s meat production. The Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), the factory farms where swine or chickens or cattle are kept in close quarters and fattened for slaughtered, would have a hard time operating without the use of drugs to keep animals healthy in cramped conditions. But many researchers are worried that the overuse of antibiotics on the farm has helped lead to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, which can then infect human beings.On Monday the FDA announced that it would urge farmers to stop giving antibiotics to cattle, poultry and other animals for growth promotion—potentially leading the way for actual regulation. Read more about it here