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Plea to limit antibiotic use in animal feed

On April 7, 2005, five medical and environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of seven kinds of antibiotics in animal feed. The groups maintain that using the antibiotics goes against the FDA mandate to protect human health. The antibiotics singled out by the groups are either “critically important” or “highly important” to human health. They are given to cattle to speed their growth and to reduce the problems associated with excessive grain feeding. Read more.

The five groups requesting the ban are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Environmental Defense, the Food Animal Concerns Trust, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. each year are fed to livestock and poultry. The fear is that the unnecessary use of these potent medications will result in more antibiotic-resistant bacteria and an undermining of human health.

Animals that are raised and finished on pasture are not given antibiotics in their feed because they are allowed to grow at a natural pace and do not have the diseases and complications that come from being fed grain in crowded and stressful feedlots.

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by Jo Robinson


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