Sunday, June 19, 2011

agriculture industry science denial: abuse of antibiotics & animals

Remapping Debate has previously reported on attempts to “repeal” climate science; 
it appears that the U.S. agricultural industry’s widespread use of antibiotics in animals used for food is another area where science denial is at play.  Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization are united in concluding that such use leads to human exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the industry is actively fighting efforts to restrict the routine, non-medical use of antibiotics in animals, and the FDA has yet to impose a ban.

The problem — which the FDA and sister organizations say is a risk to public health — is already enormous, and it is growing.  According to the CDC, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly known as MRSA, kills an estimated 19,000 people per year in the United States. The cost of fighting antibiotic-resistant microbes exceeds $20 billion per year.

Medical misuse of antibiotics in humans is part of the problem.  But another contributor is the misuse of the drugs in food animals. According to the FDA, a staggering 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States is used on livestock animals.

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