The Importance Of Animal Antibiotics

Submitted By ttaylor123
Words: 1817
Pages: 8

Have you ever stopped to think if the food you are eating is really safe enough to eat? Most of us do not we just assume that the food is already safe for us to eat. If we get sick we probably just think that it’s a virus going around, but what if it is from the food you have previously ate? Many sick American’s are prescribed antibiotics to aid their health, but humans are not the only ones given antibiotics. Farmers across the United States are giving antibiotics to their animals but, why? They are not given antibiotics for the same reasons as humans but for other countless reasons. It is evident that we need to know why animals are given antibiotics; it is also important to know if giving animals antibiotics is harmful to human health. In order to know if giving animals antibiotics is harmful to our health we must ask the questions that lead to that answer. So next time you sit down to enjoy a big juicy burger from a fast food restaurant, think about what could be in that burger.
Animals are given antibiotics for different reasons but, are those reasons putting human health at risk? Antibiotics have been used in animal feed for a little over 40 years ever since the discovery not only as an anti-microbial agent, but also as a growth-promoting agent and improvement in performance. (Union of Concerned Scientists) Antibiotics such as penicillin, and bactrican soon began to be common additives in feed for livestock. Currently, the following antibiotics are “used in livestock and poultry feed: chlortetracycline, procaine penicillin, oxytetracycline, tylosin, bacitracin, neomycin sulfate, streptomycin, erythromycin, linomycin, oleandomycin, virginamycin, and bambermycins” (qtd. in Union of Concerned Scientists). Farmers use antibiotics in feed animals for three main purposes: “therapy for illness, to prevent disease, and to increase growth.” (Lessing,2010, p.469). Farmers administer antibiotics in sub-therapeutic doses when pursuing the latter two categories, disease prevention and growth. Sub-therapeutic doses are low levels of “antibiotics that are insufficient to kill an invading bacterial infection, but are effective in preventing bacterial infection from occurring.” (Lessing,2010, p.469)
According to the CDC in the United States, antimicrobial use in food animals is the dominant source of antibiotic resistance among foodborne pathogens; so why is that happening? (Lessing, 2010) Putting an enormous percent of the world’s antibiotics into farm animals’ feed can be damaging to the population that eats the meat from these animals. The problem is so damaging because using antibiotics in the feed of animals we eat for nourishment can cause people to become resistant to existing bacteria and viruses then new antibiotics have to be produced. If the new antibiotics are used in the antibiotic enhanced feed then the newly created antibiotics will become unsuccessful. The continued use of antibiotics, whether in humans or animals, creates an evolutionary problem for the development of antibiotic resistance. (Lessing, 2010) Antibiotics and the problem of antibiotic resistance are best understood in three broad principles. First, antibiotics are used to kill bacteria, but are not used to treat illnesses arising from other sources, such as viruses. Second, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are bacteria that can cause infection and are immune to the drug typically used to treat that infection. Third, antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a trait that can be spread from bacterium to bacterium. Meats repeatedly became “contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria, particularly during the procedure of slaughtering” (Angulo, Colliqnon, Weqener, Braam, and Butler, 2005,p.1008.) Antibiotic contact in animals also promotes the strengthening of resistance genes that, once transmitted to humans, can then be transmitted within humans to more pathogenic bacteria.( Angulo, Colliqnon, Weqener, Braam, and Butler)
If antibiotics in animal feed is so