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Scientists: Overuse of Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture Endangers Humans

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Farm Issues page and our Health Issues page.

The overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture and medicine is putting human lives at unnecessary risk and driving up medical costs, according to a group of group of 150 scientists that includes a former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Along with 50 US farmers and ranchers who have opted out of using non-therapeutic antibiotics in their animal feed, the scientists are calling on the FDA and Congress to work together to regulate unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.

In twin statements released on Wednesday, the scientists and farmers said that a growing body of research supported the conclusion that overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture is fueling a health crisis. One statement cited a study which estimated that antibiotic-resistant infections cost $20bn annually to hospitals alone.

Donald Kennedy, former FDA commissioner and president emeritus at Stanford University, said: "There's no question that routinely administering non-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to food animals contributes to antibiotic resistance."  

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