There’s strong evidence antibiotics used in livestock and poultry are not driving antibiotic resistance in humans, that responsible use of antibiotics minimizes agriculture’s environmental impact, and unsafe antibiotic residue in food from animals is uncommon. While science is the foundation of those findings, and decision-making processes people use to form opinions are complex, it can be discouraging when groups or individuals choose to support science only when it agrees with issues upon which they’ve made up their minds.
The Food and Drug Administration not only has an intensive approval process for drugs for animals that’s similar to the approval human drugs undergo, but the FDA performs additional studies on drugs for food-producing animals not required for human drugs to be sure meat, milk and eggs are safe for us to consume, and that the drugs are safe for the environment. This process is intended to ensure public health.
Animals raised for food live in herds or flocks, share water and feed troughs, and seek close contact with one another by licking, laying on each other and even rubbing snouts and noses. This can spread illnesses rapidly. Waiting for animals to show symptoms of an illness before beginning treatment is often too late. Swift action can prevent the spread of disease and result in animals receiving fewer antibiotics than they would have had they not received preventive medication.