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.
As a veterinarian, I need to be able to answer questions about antibiotic use in farm animals in an informed and evidence-based way. Based on scientific research and practical experience, I’m completely comfortable telling people that using antibiotics responsibly makes meat, milk and eggs safer with the added benefit of lower food costs.