Antibiotic resistance is a slow burning pandemic–the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider it to be among the top threats to public health. Millions of Americans get sick from antibiotic resistant infections, and one estimate suggests that roughly 160,000 die every year.
Overusing antibiotics in any setting can spur resistance, whether it’s on farms or in hospitals.
The way the conventional food system raises animals for food often relies too heavily on antibiotic use. In fact, it’s where nearly two thirds of the medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S go each year. The routine use of the drugs to compensate for conditions that can lead to disease is especially concerning because that practice spurs the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can then spread from farms, ultimately infecting people with difficult to treat or untreatable infections.
Antibiotics losing efficacy isn’t just a human health threat, it’s an animal welfare issue. Increasingly, veterinarians are encountering infections in animals where one or more antibiotics fail to treat the illness. If that animal can’t be successfully treated, it’s also an economic loss for the farmer.
We are healthcare professionals, veterinarians, and farmers who are dedicated to reducing antibiotic use in order to keep these life-saving medicines effective for people and animals.
The Coalition to Preserve Antibiotics is overseen and coordinated by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.