By Mick Wells
a n t i b i o t i c u s e i n l i v e s t o c k p r o d u c t i o n
Having fermented for decades, this story started to hit the news cycles in both the US and Europe early in 2012. At issue, global food production and it’s more than half-century long use of antibiotics in beef, poultry & swine feed. As diseases and bacterial strains that effect humans have learned to survive available antibiotics, most of the fingers have been pointed towards their use – or overuse – in livestock production.
The ubiquitous routine of mixing sub-therapeutic antibiotic doses in livestock feed allows producers to fight off disease as a result of an unnatural diet and filthy, overcrowded conditions that would otherwise generate high and unprofitable rates of sickness and death. Antibiotics are so effective for this purpose that in the US alone, there are roughly the same number head of cattle as there were in the 1950′s that produce twice as much meat.
As we’ve watched this story unfold Big Pharma, big business, consumer, trade and professional associations have been positioning, counter-attacking, having their experts weigh in, some even using this as an opportunity to lobby for a more relaxed review process for granting FDA approvals on new antibiotics. It is drama unfolding in front of us – and thankfully, too, because it effects each and every one of us in more ways than one. It will be a long and compromising road before anything is close to being resolved in the US and we’ll continue to keep you aware of updates throughout 2013.