Tell FDA to protect public health, not animal factories

Antibiotic resistance is a real, growing problem. Infections that were easily treated with antibiotics 50 years ago can now result in serious illness and even death. While doctors can certainly over-prescribe antibiotics, the real culprit is not the health care system, but our food system.

Sign the petition to tell FDA to Protect Public Health, Not Animal Factories:

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The overuse of these pharmaceuticals greatly compromises public health, as their consistent use in livestock selects for antibiotic-resistant superbugs that are infecting humans at an alarming rate. In human medicine, antibiotic use is generally confined to treatment of illness. Yet, an estimated 70-80% of antibiotics produced in the United States—more than four times the amount used to treat illness in people—are used in animal factories for animals that aren’t even sick. Instead, the feed these industrial facilities buy often has antibiotics blended right in, or they simply add antibiotics to the water.

Why would animal factories routinely give animals antibiotics when they aren’t sick?  Animal factories rely on antibiotics, antimicrobials, and other drugs to accelerate animal growth rates and prevent them from getting sick while housed by the thousands in cramped conditions ripe for breeding disease. This routine feeding of antibiotics to food animals creates drug-resistant superbugs, which can spread to humans by eating meat, poultry, and eggs, and through environmental exposure.

Despite the known risks of sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in animal factories, FDA has allowed this practice to continue virtually unabated. Instead of eliminating sub-therapeutic use, the FDA instituted weak “voluntary” measures to curb routine antibiotic usage.  While FDA has proposed a new rule that requires veterinarians to order antibiotic drugs--a step in the right direction--the proposal also weakens the meaning of veterinary oversight with several loopholes that will still allow antibiotics to be used widely. Without a strong veterinary feed directive rule, antibiotic resistance will continue to rise.

Tell FDA to close the loopholes and keep antibiotics working!